Rugby - PHILPOTT GIVES ULSTER STRENGTH

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FORMER Saracens youth hooker, Stuart Philpott, who recently signed for Belfast Harlequins, will be keen to make his mark on the Ulster Under- 21 squad which was annouced yesterday.

Philpott was impressive on the Irish Under-21 side which competed in the World Cup in Argentina in June and getting him to Ulster has been a tremendous boost.

He will face competition from Dungannon&s impressive No 2, Chris Knipe and Malone&s Michael Bradford, but it certainly means plenty of competition in a position which in the past has caused headaches for the management.

Last season Glen Moore went on a short pre-season tour with the Ulster Under-21 side as a backrow player, was trained in the position of hooker on the tour and went on to make good progress in the postion.

Dale Black below, will be able to call on his Irish Youth experience in the centre, although there is a lot of competition for places there including Ballynahinch&s Mark Scott and Belfast harlequins& Darren Cave.

Ballynahinch scrumhalf, Paul Marshall, part of the Ulster Flybe Academy, will be keen to make his mark in the No 9 shirt, having been slightly disappointed in not making the Irish World Cup squad.

He scored a couple of good tries in the inter-pro series last season and will be out to add to that.

With some Six Nations experience under his belt he should be the first choice man for the season, although he will face tough competition Joe Burns (Trinity, Dublin) and the currently unattached Adam Bartholomew.

Dungannon&s impressive No 8, Stephen Ferris, will bring plenty of experience to the side.

He showed up well during the World Cup in Argentina and will be eager to do well as this age-group once again. …