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Dublin: 7°C Monday 12 April 2021

Two of Ulster's top young prospects rewarded with first senior contracts

Tom O’Toole and Angus Curtis have committed their futures to the northern province.

IRELAND U20 INTERNATIONALS Tom O’Toole and Angus Curtis have earned upgraded development contracts at Ulster ahead of the new season, and will thereafter move onto senior deals at the northern province.

Yoshiyuki Koga tackles Tom O’Toole O'Toole enjoyed a breakthrough season last term. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Both players enjoyed breakthrough seasons in Belfast last term, with tighthead prop O’Toole making his Pro14 debut against Edinburgh last April before featuring four more times during the run-in.

O’Toole missed the U20 World Championships in France due to a knee injury but recovered in time to take a full part in Ulster’s pre-season preparations, including a start against Gloucester earlier this month. 

The 20-year-old’s first senior deal will see him under contract at Kingspan Stadium until 2022. 

“I’m really excited about the prospect of furthering my rugby career at Ulster, where I have enjoyed such a great experience to date,” O’Toole said.

“The support from the academy over the past few years has been incredible in developing all aspects of my game and preparing me to step up to the next level. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and am ready to give everything I can to the Ulster cause.”

Highly-rated Curtis, who can play at out-half and at inside centre, made his Pro14 debut against Glasgow and then his second appearance as a replacement in the final game of the regular season against Munster at Thomond Park. 

He featured for Noel McNamara’s U20s in France this summer and has put pen-to-paper on a deal with Ulster until 2021. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the setup at Ulster and it’s a big bonus for me to graduate from the Academy at this stage of the season,” he said.

Johnny McPhillips and Angus Curtis Curtis (right) can play at out-half or inside centre. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I’ve learnt a lot within the academy programme and I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard with the senior squad. This group has massive potential and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Ahead of Ulster’s Pro14 opener against Scarlets this weekend, the province’s operations director Bryn Cunningham expects both players to continue their development this year.

“Angus and Tom have done tremendously well since entering the academy and have been rewarded for their hard work and talent,” he commented.

“They got a taste of senior rugby last season and equipped themselves very well within that environment.

“Angus is a talented youngster who has a very well-rounded game and he will only get better and better. Tom is a destructive player and for a prop of his age to be playing at Pro14 level is very impressive.

“We are confident that they will have long and successful careers in the professional game and we’re excited to see how they will progress within the senior ranks.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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