The Ulster Branch of the IRFU held its annual Maxol Primary Schools Mini Rugby Festival at Ravenhill earlier this month, running from Tuesday through to Friday. 32 schools took part from across the province.
This was Maxol's first year of involvement as sponsor and the Mini Rugby Festival proved to be a big success.
Each school got the opportunity to play three matches against other primary schools followed by a packed lunch provided by Maxol and an opportunity to meet an Ulster star at the end of the day. This year the players present were Rory Best, Robbie Diack, Paddy Wallace and Stephen Ferris(pictured below).
The participating schools came from right across the province, with three schools attending the Maxol event for the first time - Carniny PS (Ballymena), Millburn PS (Coleraine) and Ballyholme PS (Bangor).
A big thank you from Ulster Rugby to all the schools for taking part - they showed tremendous enthusiasm and skill throughout the festival.
Thanks also to the Ulster Society for providing referees and of course to sponsors Maxol - with their help, Ulster Rugby have managed to increase the number of schools playing mini rugby in Ulster to 92.
In order to be eligible to play at Ravenhill, each school must affiliate to the Ulster Branch of the IRFU and take part in a regional qualifying blitz of which there are eight throughout the province.
Paddy Jackson's boot made the difference for Ulster at Kingspan Stadium as he dispatched a 77th minute penalty to see off a combative Dragons side and nudge the province to the top of the GUINNESS PRO12.
Ulster are back at Kingspan Stadium for their rescheduled GUINNESS PRO12 date with the Dragons. And with a run of home games to come, Les Kiss' men know how important this fixture could be in terms of building momentum through the Six Nations period.
Munster Rugby have confirmed that Duncan Casey has signed a two-year contract extension, Greencore Academy player Sean McCarthy has secured a one-year development contract and Ulster talent Sam Arnold will join the province on a two-year deal.