dan tuohy ulsterUlster received a boost ahead of this weekend’s crucial Heineken Cup clash against Biarritz with the news that  lock Dan Tuohy has signed a new two year deal with the club, while  prop Paddy McAllister and centre Nevin Spence have upgraded from development to full contracts.

Tuohy, who won his first international caps for Ireland during last summer’s tour of Australia and New Zealand,  moved from Premiership side Exeter Chiefs, on a two year contract with Ulster ahead of the  2009-10 season. Having come through a strong academy system in the Guinness Premiership with Gloucester, the Irish-qualified lock had Ireland U21 honours to his name before his arrival in Belfast and with his excellent line-out abilities and a fair turn of pace, he’s become a regular in the Ulster side on match day.

Youngsters McAllister and Spence are both products of the Phoenix Ulster Rugby Academy.

Prop Paddy McAllister ,who was awarded a development contract ahead of the start of the current season, made his Ulster debut coming on as a replacement against the Ospreys  in September. The Ballynahinch player, who has has represented Ireland at Schools, U19 and U20 level has featured regularly in the Ulster match day squad this season.

Centre Nevin Spence also joined the Ulster Squad on a development contract this summer after featuring for Ireland U20s in the Junior World Championship in Argentina. The former U16 Northern Ireland football international got his first Ulster start against Glasgow last April and has started six matches for Ulster so far this season, scoring a memorable try in Ulster’s defeat of Bath at The Rec last month as well as one last Friday night against Treviso.