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Stockdale, Kane And Lyttle Commit To Ulster

Stockdale, Kane And Lyttle Commit To Ulster

Ulster have been boosted by the news that exciting youngsters Jacob Stockdale, Ross Kane and Rob Lyttle have signed new contracts with the province.

Jacob Stockdale, who graduated from the Hughes Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy last year, has enjoyed a fine season to date with the senior squad, scoring eight tries in his 14 competitive appearances, which includes seven starts.

The versatile back, who turned 21 earlier this week, attended Wallace High School and was part of the Ireland Under-20 team that reached last summer’s World Rugby U-20 Championship final.

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Ross Kane and Rob Lyttle, both of whom are current members of the Academy, have been rewarded for their excellent development this season with places on the senior panel. They have already made significant contributions to Les Kiss’ squad, having made 11 and eight appearances respectively.

Kane captained Methodist College to Danske Bank Ulster Schools Senior Cup success in 2013 before taking his place in the province’s Academy. He is affiliated to Ulster Bank League 1B club Ballymena.

Lyttle lined out for Ireland in the recent Under-20 Six Nations Championship and he plays his club rugby for Queen’s University.

Ulster director of rugby Kiss was understandably delighted to retain the services of the three players, saying: “Jacob, Ross and Rob are outstanding talents who, even at a young age, have demonstrated their qualities for our senior team.

“In addition to having the physical attributes to be top class players, they also possess a positive mental aptitude and a strong understanding of the game. Their development has really accelerated under Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson in the Academy and they have shown great appetite to continue that with the senior squad.

“All three were identified in the schools game at a young age and have come through our player development pathway, which is essential for the sustainable future of Ulster Rugby. We have significantly increased investment in this area over the past couple of years and we are starting to reap the rewards.

“The challenge for us is to bring players through from outside of the schools game and it was pleasing to see club youth players Tommy O’Hagan, Aaron Hall and Joe Dunleavy starting for our Ulster ‘A’ team last Friday, while we also had Adam McBurney and John McCusker on the bench. This is hugely positive for us and hopefully we’ll see even more of this in the years ahead.”