YOUNG Ulster forward, Iain Henderson, said penning a professional deal with Ulster Rugby had brought a dream to fruition.
The 20-year-old signed a three-year contract on Wednesday with his home Province keeping him at Ravenhill until at least the end of the 2015 season.
He said today: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with Ulster. I’ve dreamed of being a professional with my home province and it’s fantastic that it’s come to fruition.
“I’ve learnt a great deal from the coaching staff and senior players here and I can’t wait to continue my development at Ravenhill.
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad, particularly in the back row, but I want to try and get as many games as possible under my belt,” said Henderson, who could also be considered for second row having played their previously.
Ulster Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, commented: “Iain is one of the brightest young players in Ireland, he has all the attributes required to be a top class forward and we are delighted to welcome him into the professional set up.
“We are trying to build a team of home grown players which is capable of competing with and beating the best teams in Europe, and Iain epitomises what we are trying to achieve.
“His performance against Cardiff a couple of weeks ago underlined his massive potential, but also showed that he is able to play at this level now.
“The exciting thing for us is that he will only get better.”
Henderson is one of a number of exciting prospects emerging from Ulster and is tipped to play at the highest level.
While he continues to make progress at Ulster he has already enjoyed success at the under age grades.
He was one of the players to impress in the green shirt of Ireland at the Junior World Cup in South Africa, alongside Chris Farrell, Stuart Olding and Peter Nelson.
Paddy Jackson was also part of that age-group team, but he did not take part in the world cup, held back to progress with the senior Provincial side.
Henderson is expected to make his Heineken Cup debut on Friday night against Castres at Ravenhill, if, as expected, Nick Williams is ruled out with injury on Thursday.
It is the only enforced change expected in the team with Paul Marshall set to start at scurmhalf and the recently returned Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf.
But Anscombe could still spring a surprise in the backline, Luke Marshall a possible starter in the midfield ahead of Darren Cave.