Jump to main content


Five New Entrants In Ulster Rugby Academy

Five New Entrants In Ulster Rugby Academy

Under-20 Six Nations Grand Slam winner Callum Reid is pictured during an Ireland U-20 training session in Cork earlier in the year ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

The 2019/20 Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy squad has been announced, which includes five new entrants.

Flying back-three sensation Aaron Sexton will make the full-time switch from athletics to rugby, having recently broken the Irish Schools records for both the 100 and 200 metres. Sexton is also a familiar name in rugby circles, as he was the Ulster ‘A’ team’s top try scorer in last year’s Celtic Cup, touching down seven times in six games.

The Bangor Grammar School pupil also featured in Ulster’s pre-season friendly against Gloucester and was the 2017 Danske Bank Ulster Schools Player of the Year. An Ireland Under-18 international at Clubs & Schools, Schools and Sevens level, he most recently helped the Ireland U-19s to a notable win over the France U-20 Development team in Corsica.

Another exciting back-three prospect, Conor Rankin, will join the Ulster Rugby Academy from Campbell College where he was a pivotal figure in the side that won the 2018 Danske Bank Ulster Schools Cup title.

The recently named Danske Bank Ulster Schools Player of the Year, Tom Stewart is another player joining the Academy following a stellar schools career where the Belfast Royal Academy hooker captained Ulster at Under-18 level.

Highly-rated Irish-qualified centre Hayden Hyde will make the move from English Premiership side Harlequins to Ulster, following in the footsteps of Kieran Treadwell and Sam Arnold. Hyde, an IQ Rugby product, has already played for the Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools and Sevens teams as well as, most recently, the Ireland U-19s.

Following a year in the sub-Academy and a season’s experience in the All Ireland League with Banbridge RFC, prop Callum Reid has been awarded a full-time place in the Academy. Reid represented Ulster ‘A’ in the Celtic Cup last year and was part of the Ireland U20 Six Nations Grand Slam-winning team.

After an outstanding season last year which saw Ulster Academy players contribute no less than 111 appearances across the GUINNESS PRO14 and the Heineken Champions Cup, nine players who started the year in the Academy have gone on to earn upgraded contractsRobert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, James Hume, Angus Kernohan, Michael Lowry, Zack McCall, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole and Marcus Rea.

Commenting on the announcement of the squad, Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy Manager Kieran Campbell said: “Last year was a really successful season in terms of the contribution Academy players made at senior level, which is ultimately what we are here to do – develop players of the requisite quality to represent Ulster and Ireland.

“We still believe there is significant opportunity to grow again this year and we are excited about the new batch of players joining our programme. Each year we are driving increased standards so I congratulate those who have been awarded a place in the Academy and look forward to seeing how they develop into the future.”


YEAR 4 –

Aaron Hall
Position: Back Rower
DOB: 26/6/1998
Height: 193cm
Weight: 98kg

YEAR 3 –

Graham Curtis
Position: Scrum Half
DOB: 12/9/1999
Height: 176cm
Weight: 84kg

Matthew Dalton
Position: Lock
DOB: 16/11/1998
Height: 197cm
Weight: 105kg

Joe Dunleavy
Position: Flanker
DOB: 22/12/1998
Height: 190cm
Weight: 101kg

Jack Regan
Position: Lock
DOB: 9/5/1997
Height: 197cm
Weight: 108kg

YEAR 2 –

Matthew Agnew
Position: Back Rower
DOB: 20/11/1998
Height: 180cm
Weight: 89kg

Azur Allison
Position: Back Rower
DOB: 19/4/1999
Height: 192cm
Weight: 95kg

Bruce Houston
Position: Out-Half
DOB: 16/08/1999
Height: 192cm
Weight: 84kg

Iwan Hughes
Position: Back-Three
DOB: 6/4/1999
Height: 174cm
Weight: 79kg

David McCann
Position: Back Rower
DOB: 13/6/2000
Height: 191cm
Weight: 103kg

Stewart Moore
Position: Centre
DOB: 8/8/1999
Height: 183cm
Weight: 91kg

YEAR 1 –

Hayden Hyde
Position: Centre
DOB: 15/09/2000

Conor Rankin
Position: Back-Three
DOB: 27/5/2001
Height: 186cm
Weight: 83kg

Callum Reid
Position: Prop
DOB: 6/1/1999
Height: 183cm
Weight: 111kg

Aaron Sexton
Position: Back-Three
DOB: 24/8/2000
Height: 188cm
Weight: 88kg

Tom Stewart
Position: Hooker
DOB: 11/1/2001
Height: 182cm
Weight: 97kg