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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019
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Ulster confirm new deals for promising trio of Stockdale, Lyttle and Kane

The exciting trio have impressed in their breakthrough seasons at senior level.

ULSTER HAVE CONFIRMED new contract extensions for the promising trio of Jacob Stockdale, Rob Lyttle and Ross Kane.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates his try Stockdale has been impressive this season. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

As with Leinster, Ulster have not announced the duration of the contracts.

The versatile Stockdale, who turned 21 this week, has been outstanding for the northern province this season, scoring eight tries over the course of 14 appearances for Les Kiss’ side.

The former Ireland U20 international has made starts on the left wing, right wing, at fullback and outside centre this season alone, and has shown the kind of potential that has led to calls for him to be brought on Ireland’s tour of the US and Japan in June.

Meanwhile, Kane and Lyttle will graduate from the Ulster academy next season, having both featured strongly for the senior team during the current campaign.

Tighthead prop Kane has broken through impressively and even made his first Champions Cup start against Exeter in January. The 20-year-old previously captained Methodist College to an Ulster Schools Senior Cup trophy in 2013 and has been playing his club rugby with Ballymena.

Queen’s University RFC man Lyttle has shown his rich attacking quality this season too, although injuries limited his involvement in the Ireland U20s’ Six Nations campaign.

The fullback/wing had started Ulster’s campaign superbly with some stunning tries in the pre-season, and Kiss is convinced he can go on to greater things in the future.

“Jacob, Ross and Rob are outstanding talents who, even at a young age, have demonstrated their qualities for our senior team,” said Ulster director of rugby Kiss.

Rob Lyttle is tackled by Sean Kennedy Lyttle has superb footwork. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

“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 school 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 school game and it was pleasing to see club youth players Tommy O’Hagan, John McCusker and Joe Dunleavy starting for our Ulster A team last Friday, while we also had Adam McBurney and Aaron Hall on the bench.

“This is hugely positive for us and hopefully we’ll see even more of this in the years ahead.”

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Murray Kinsella

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