Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has hailed the impact that James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale have made since making their international debuts in 2017.
Stockdale followed Ryan's lead this week by signing a new three-year IRFU contract, which sees the Ulster winger promoted to a central deal for the first time. Like Ryan, Stockdale will remain with Ulster until at least the summer of 2023.
Sexton, who has watched both young players blossom, spoke highly of their growth within the squad behind the scenes.
"They both came through when we won the Grand Slam in 2018," Sexton said.
"They have been getting better and better and are going from strength to strength in terms of their personality and leadership.
"They are contributing more to the team now. Even in 2018, they had some outstanding performances, but they are taking much more of a leadership role now in the team, which is great."
Stockdale added: "I am involved with two ambitious squads and I know I will continue to develop as a player in both environments."