Ulster Rugby's rising stars get an Ireland call for Georgia
Six Ulster players have made the 27-man Emerging Ireland squad for next month's World Rugby Tbilisi Cup in Georgia.
Forwards Rob Herring, Lewis Stevenson, Andrew Warwick and Frank Taggart have all been selected along with backs Stuart McCloskey - who was part of last year's Emerging Ireland squad - and Peter Nelson.
The squad is a mix of youth and experience with Leinster and Ireland's Rhys Ruddock a notable inclusion.
Ulster's forwards coach Allen Clarke takes charge of the squad and will be assisted by Leinster's Girvan Dempsey. Emerging Ireland - who won last summer's Nations Cup in Bucharest - will take on Uruguay, hosts Georgia and Emerging Italy.
Both Uruguay and Georgia will be using the tournament as part of their World Cup preparations so the Ireland squad can expect some pretty competitive outings against their line-ups.
"This competition gives us the opportunity to develop some of the emerging talent from the four provinces with the support of some experienced players in a very challenging tournament format," said Clarke.
"It's a great opportunity to see how these players react and perform faced with the challenge of a short preparation," he added.
Meanwhile, the IRFU has announced details regarding the Ireland Men's Sevens squad as the team begin their journey towards the World Rugby Sevens World Series and a potential spot at the Rio Olympics.
The programme embarked upon last January to identify talent has now reached the tournament phase with Ireland teams set to compete at the GB 7s series and Rugby Europe tournaments.
A 26-man squad has been selected to compete at these events with Ballynahinch duo Aaron Cairns and David McGuigan the two Ulster-based players named.