THE large sprinkling of Ulster players involved in the Irish training camp this week is something which the coaching staff at Ravenhill are keen to see happening on a regular basis.
Getting more players in the green shirt was one of the targets for former head coach, Brian McLaughlin - and he certainly saw success on that front during his three year tenure.
Last week the rising talents of centre, Luke Marshall, were recognised when he was one of a number of uncapped players called to Carlton House for the camp earlier this week.
Alongside him was Ireland Under-20 star, Iain Henderson, who too has a big future ahead of him.
With Paul Marshall and Craig Gilroy being called in to join the squad on Monday, it meant Ulster had a 13 players included in Declan Kidney’s panel as Ireland prepare for the November Guinness Test series against South Africa and Argentina, plus a shadow game against Fiji.
The new man at the helm of Ulster Rugby, Mark Anscombe, said he was delighted to see so many Ulster players involved, but particularly some of the young emerging talent.
In terms of working with the Irish management, Anscombe is new to the situation, but appears comfortable with the ‘arrangement.’
“The situation is good. It is open and up front. We had a meeting before the season got going with Declan (Kidney), so they clearly know the expectation.
“We have an obligation to bring on the best players and give guys the opportunity to play for the national team.
“The communication is good and open and there have been no surprises yet. It’s working well,” he smiled.
In terms of the Ulster squad, Anscombe wants to maintain the conveyor belt of talent coming through the province into the national team.
“We want the young guys to put their hands up to play for Ireland.
“The more we do that the more it reflects on our environment.
“When people look at the success of professional rugby teams it also has got to do with the development of people coming through.
“The more players that put on a green shirt reflects on the job we are doing here.”
Ulster skipper, Johann Muller, who has represented his native South Africa 24 times, said there were many gains from the number of Ulster players being involved in the national set-up.
“It gives a boost to the individual,” said the towering lock, but “it also brings confidence within the group.
“If you have a team of five internationals, then all of a sudden you have a team of 12 internationals that is a huge amount of confidence.
“It will be great to see those guys back in the Ulster shirt playing well and pushing hard to get the green jersey of Ireland.”