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Ireland U20 forwards Jones and Regan make switch from Leinster to join Ulster academy

The second and back row represented Leinster through age grades and up to ‘A’ level.

Regan in Leinster U18 action against Munster.
Regan in Leinster U18 action against Munster.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND U20 international forwards Jack Regan and Greg Jones have been named on Ulster’s list of year one academy entrants.

Both Regan, a second row, and Jones, a back row, make the move north having represented Leinster up to ‘A’ level.

Son of All-Ireland SHC winner Daithi, Regan hails from Birr, Co. Offaly, stands 6’5″ and just turned 20 in May. He has featured in nine of Ireland U20s’ 10 fixtures this year.

21-year-old former St Andrew’s schoolboy Jones formed a formidable back row alongside Max Deegan as Ireland defeated New Zealand and forced their way to the World Rugby U20 Championship final in Manchester.

Greg Jones celebrates Jones celebrating Ireland's win over the Baby Blacks. Source: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

The duo follow in the footsteps of year three academy talent Nick Timoney who made his debut for the northern province this year after moving up the M1 in 2015.

Joining the new faces in the Ulster system will be RBAI’s Ulster schools’ player of the year Michael Lowry. Letterkenny back row Joe Dunleavy also makes the grade after impressing in his first Ulster Bank League season with City of Derry.

David Busby, Aaron Cairns, Ross Kane, Rob Lyttle, Tommy O’Hagan and Jack Owens step up from the academy to senior contracts in Les Kiss and Jono Gibbes’ squad.

“The ultimate goal is that these lads will go on to play senior rugby for Ulster and Ireland, and it is gratifying to see so many players in our pathway earn international recognition,” said academy director Kieran Campbell.

“Last year we had 26 players wear the Ireland jersey at either U18, U19 or U20 level, our highest ever total for a season, which represents a 73% growth over the past six years.”

Ulster Academy

Year three:

Nick Timoney (back row), Peter Cooper (prop).

Year two:

Jonathan Stewart (scrum-half), Angus Curtis (out-half), Rory Butler (centre), Adam McBurney (hooker), Zach McCall (hooker) Aaron Hall (back row), Marcus Rea (back row).

Year one:

Tom O’Toole (prop), Eric O’Sullivan (prop), Alex Clarke (hooker), Matt Dalton (second row) Jack Regan (second row), John McCusker (second row) Joe Dunleavy (back row) Greg Jones (back row), Michael Lowry (out-half), James Hume (Centre).

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