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Stunning Susie is set to strip down to follow Claudine's lingerie photoshoot

RUGBY hunk Rob Kearney may soon have even more in common with soccer ace Robbie Keane than sports-star status and initials.

The Leinster rugby hero's better half, Susie Amy, has sparked speculation that she could be a hot contender to become a new face for lingerie brand Ultimo -- just like Robbie's wife Claudine.

The Herald can reveal that the demure brunette actress has struck up a firm friendship with lingerie boss Michelle Mone in recent months.

And their newfound chumminess is sending the rumour mill into overdrive that Ms Amy could soon be stripping down to appear in an upcoming high-profile campaign for the upmarket underwear company.

The successful females are said to have become best pals after bonding when they starred in ITV1's gruelling reality series 71 Degrees North, which was filmed earlier this year.

The show, which also starred Gavin Henson, Konnie Huq and Shane Richie, saw a number of celebrities travel to Norway for a month, with 85 crew and three helicopters following their every moment as they competed against one another in two teams.

And they have stayed in regular contact since the challenging TV show, with gossip now beginning to mount that the Ultimo creator (38) is seriously considering offering stunning Susie a modelling contract.

They chat regularly on Twitter and Susie recently told Michelle how hot she looks in Ultimo underwear.

The move would see the actress follow in the footsteps of a huge number of well-known faces, including Irish model Claudine Keane plus Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding.

The respected brand is widely regarded to be the UK's answer to Victoria's Secret.

Other past models include curvaceous Penny Lancaster, Rachel Hunter, actress Gemma Atkinson, former Spice Girl Melanie Browne, aka Scary Spice, and TV presenter-turned-actress Kelly Brook, who Susie is also good friends with.

The 29-year-old also has a lot of experience as a model, which kickstarted her career in the limelight.

The actress is best known for playing Chardonnay in Footballers' Wives in 2001.

She has since stared in Coronation Street, as well as branching out into theatre projects.

Insiders believe that Susie fits the Ultimo model mould perfectly, as she is both successful and has a figure most women can only dream of.

She previously revealed the secrets of her killer curves, saying: "I do a bit of running. I also just try to do simple things. I'm fairly relaxed with myself.

"There's no point in somebody looking at Cheryl Cole and going 'I want her body', because you've got your own body and you can look after it as well as you want, but you can only work with the shape that you've got," she added.

Meanwhile, Susie is already gearing up for a big bash with Rob to celebrate her 30th birthday on April 17.

She tweeted recently: "Looking at birthday options for April. Can you believe places are already full!! Who is that organised -- really? Wish I had been..."