Portadown-born David Busby has continued his progress by making appearances at senior level during Ulster dates with Leinster and Exeter Chiefs.
Busby was handed a senior boost during the pre-season friendly on August 13 against Leinster on the Navan trip then also featured last weekend in England.
The former Portadown College student is one of 10 members of the Hughes Insurance Academy programme involved in the warm-up fixtures.
Busby will be hoping for additional minutes as part of the forthcoming double-header at the Kingspan Stadium tonight (Friday) involving Canada A and Northampton.
At domestic level, Portadown launch the Championship Division One campaign tomorrow (Saturday) with a Chambers Park test against Dromore.
Preparations have included participation in a tournament hosted by Randalstown.
Play will start at 2.30, with everyone welcome for the opening game of the seniors’ season.
“We have had over 30 at training and players moving into the senior squad from last season’s title-winning seconds,” said coach Richard Hedley. “The idea is to keep both teams strong and continue to promote youth players up the ranks.
“We have Dromore at home then a trip to Enniskillen and I would imagine a tight division this season, with the exception of Instonians.
“A side capable of putting together a run of results could do well so the target is a good start, which we have the potential to achieve.
“James Carlton, who was our captain last season, has returned closer to home and will play for Enniskillen.
“Chris Cousens will take over the captain’s role and he may still be young but has plenty of experience.
“It is going to be a season of small margins but everyone is looking forward to another campaign.”
Play will start at 2.30 in Chambers Park.
Portadown Panthers - the learning disability tag rugby squad - will kick off a fourth season on Saturday, September 3. Players are welcome from 9.30.