Grant: Ulster want stars to shine for Irish
Ulster forwards coach Roddy Grant says the province have their fingers crossed for the squad's Irish hopefuls with Andy Farrell set to name his first Six Nations panel this afternoon.
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Just three of their players - Jacob Stockdale, Iain Henderson and the since-retired Rory Best - made Joe Schmidt's selection for the World Cup but in total there were nine from the province in Farrell's larger panel for a 'stock-take' last month.
Were such a number to be included today, it would naturally be a test of Ulster's depth with three PRO14 games to be played during the Championship, including a key clash with Cheetahs in Belfast one day before Ireland take on England at Twickenham.
Grant, though, says the staff want to see as many as possible making their way to the IRFU's new base in Abbotstown later this month.
"It will reward the guys for all the hard work here at the club," he said. "You're delighted if people are going towards their goals in life. As a coach I'd hope to get the guys as good as they can be and get the best out of people and if they're doing that and get the rewards of a national call-up then happy days."
Full-back Will Addison is a doubt to make the squad through injury despite Ulster refusing to rule him out of the crunch Champions Cup clash with Bath on Saturday that will decide their quarter-final fate.