Ulster rugby’s new signing Will Addison is hoping that his Fermanagh roots can help him secure international honours for Ireland.

The full back, who can also play at centre or on the wing, has made the move to Ulster from Sale Sharks and has already established himself in the starting line up for his new club.

He made an immediate impact scoring Ulster’s first competitive try of the season in their narrow one point victory over Edinburgh last weekend, and he hopes that a prolonged run in the side will catch the eye of the Ireland selectors.

“I have managed to get into the starting side at Ulster and I am really happy with that,” he said.

“Now I have to stay there, which is no mean feat because they have a really talented squad. I’ve got to make sure I’m doing that every week to give me the opportunity to play for Ireland. It’s not going to be easy to break into the strongest team in the Northern Hemisphere and potentially the world at the moment. It’s not going to be an easy task and its going to take a lot of consistent performances, but it’s definitely an aspiration of mine.”

The driving factor behind Will’s switch to Ulster was a return to the home country of his mother, Caroline Roberts, who grew up in north Fermanagh before moving to Penrith in England to get married.

Will has fond memories of his childhood visits to Fermanagh and has always kept in touch with his relatives.

“Mum’s connection was a big factor in the move,” he admitted.

“She grew up in Kesh and her family had been there for a number of generations. She went to school at the Collegiate and a lot of my cousins would have gone to the Collegiate and Portora, so I have very strong links.

“I used to come every summer up until I was about 18 or 19.

“My birthday is August and I would always end up coming over for one or two weeks and helping out my cousins and aunts and uncles on the farm. I still have aunts and uncles still living in Fermanagh and Monaghan. I have been back there a fair amount in the pre-season.

“All my aunties are fantastic cooks and have looked after me very well!”

Will was born and brought up close to the Lake District in England, and his rugby talent was spotted by Sale Sharks at the age of 15.

He made regular trips to Manchester to play in the club’s youth teams and by the age of 18 had secured a full time contract.

He continued to pursue his education and earned a degree at Manchester University while rising through the ranks at Sale.

He was made club captain and was one of Sale’s star names, but this summer he took the decision to embark on a new challenge.

“I was captain at Sale and I loved the club, but there was an opportunity to come over here having talked to Dwayne Peel (Ulster assistant coach), who was well aware of my Irish connections,” he said.

“He was aware it could be a good opportunity for me to develop as a player and I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. I had a good chat with my mum and my dad and felt I didn’t want to end my career thinking ‘what if’.

“I’m pleased with my decision now because I am really enjoying it and I feel I’m becoming a better player every week which is why I made the decision. I could have fulfilled my potential at Sale but I thought that a change of environment would accelerate that. Being in a new environment and having to push myself.”

Will has already secured a new home in Belfast, and feels he has settled quickly into his new environment.

“It has been so easy to bed in,” he said.

“I came over to watch the last game of last season against Ospreys in the Heineken Cup play-off game and the lads were kind enough to take me on a night out having never met me before. They made sure I bedded in really fast and it has just been such an easy process. It helps having Enniskillen so close and being able to get down to Kesh at the weekends. It feels like home already and it’s great.”

A dozen friends and relatives from Fermanagh have made the trip to Ravenhill to cheer him to victory in each of his first two Pro 14 matches, and Will believes the two narrow wins have given the side something to build on for the rest of the season.

“One of the reasons I joined Ulster is because they are historically one of the biggest clubs in Europe and I think we would be disappointed not to reach the knockout stages both in the league and in Europe,” he said.

“That would be a benchmark but I think we have a very young exciting squad and we are just looking to get better and better every week.

“I think we did that last week against Edinburgh, and we had a gritty performance against Scarlets to win.

“I think we are taking strides in putting in better performances each week. I think we will be looking to do that every week and see where that takes us.”