10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Gerald McCarter, the current Irish Under-18s Coach. Gerald brings much experience to the Ulster Under-21s. Presently, he coaches Foyle & Londonderry College, whom he took to the quarter finals of this season's Renault Ulster Schools Cup. Moreover, Gerald played for and captained City of Derry, and he went on to coach them for 5 years, notably winning the Ulster Senior League and Cup in the 1999-2000 season.
Gerald started a coaching relationship with Hugh McCaughey when they both took charge of the Ulster Under-18s in 1999. Impressively, the pair led the Ulster Under-18s to their first ever Interprovincial Championship this season.
Hugh McCaughey and David Millar both played for Ulster and Dungannon in the front row, indeed both men were hugely influential in helping Dungannon to win the silverware they did in the late 1980s and 1990s. Gerald McCarter commented that I am highly excited at the prospect of working with the players of the Ulster Under-21s. I am looking forward to the challenge of pushing the boys onto the Ulster Senior Squad.
Alan Solomons, Ulster's Director of Coaching, has made it clear that he is keen to develop the youth in Ulster and it is great that this year, Neil McMillan, Matt McCullough and Scott Young have graduated from the Under-21s to the Senior Ulster Squad. This is a big incentive for the up and coming young players.
It should be noted that next season's Under-21 Championship will be revamped, in the sense that in addition to the three game round robin series, there will be a playoff scenario. First will play fourth, and second against third, with both winners battling it out for supremacy.
The management team for the Northern Bank Ulster Under-21s will soon start trawling the province and across on the mainland for eligible players. There will be training camps held over the summer before the condensed period of matches from August to October.