Ulster have received a boost ahead of their crucial Heineken Cup match against Biarritz Olympique. with the news that lock Dan Tuohy, prop Paddy McAllister and centre Nevin Spence have all agreed new contracts with the province.
Lock Dan Tuohy, who earned his first Ireland cap against New Zealand last June, has signed a new two-year deal with Ulster, while prop Paddy McAllister and centre Nevin Spence have been upgraded to full contracts from development deals.
Tuohy moved to Ulster from English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs, penning a two-year contract ahead of the 2009/10 season.
Having come through a strong Academy system in the Premiership with Gloucester, the 25-year-old had Ireland Under-21 honours to his name before his arrival in Belfast and with his excellent lineout abilities and good turn of pace, he has become a regular in the Ulster team over the past season-and-a-half.
Youngsters Paddy McAllister and Nevin Spence are both products of the Phoenix Ulster Rugby Academy.
Prop McAllister ,who was awarded a development contract ahead of the start of the current season, made his Ulster senior debut when coming on as a replacement against the Ospreys in September.
The Ballynahinch player, who has has represented Ireland at Schools, Under-19 and Under-20 levels, has featured regularly in the Ulster matchday squad this season.
Centre Spence also joined the Ulster squad on a development contract last summer after featuring for the Ireland Under-20s in their RBS U-20 6 Nations title-winning campaign.
The former Northern Ireland Under-16 football international made his first Ulster start against Glasgow last April and has started six matches for Ulster so far this season, scoring a memorable try in Ulster’s away win over Bath last month, and another against Benetton Treviso last Friday.