IRFU: Two stay with Ireland, Leinster
Loosehead prop Cian Healy and tighthead Mike Ross have, as recently reported in The Irish Times, again committed to contracts with Ireland and Leinster, Healy for three more years and Ross for two.
Both players were yesterday named in the team to play Wales in Ireland’s opening Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Healy (25) will remain in Ireland until at least the end of the 2015-16 season, while Ross has agreed terms until the end of the 2014-15 season.
Cork-born Ross who, because of his position, is regarded as one of the cornerstones of the Ireland team, moved back to Ireland and Leinster for the beginning of the 2009-10 season after a spell with Harlequins. He made his debut for Ireland in June 2009 against Canada and has won 24 caps, appearing in the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Healy has been much more of a home bird. He has come through the Irish underage system and has always played with Leinster. He made his senior provincial debut in May 2007, just two months after winning Ireland’s first under-20 grand slam. He has 35 Irish senior caps.
“The whole experience of playing for Leinster is something that I wanted to keep with me and also possibly winning more silverware as well,” Healy said.
“I still feel there is plenty more left in the tank for the province and there is a great group of players there and great support, so I’m really happy to have agreed a new contract to stay here in Ireland.”
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne, alluding to the recent exit of Jonny Sexton to France, said: “The market place for players continues to be a competitive one, but the IRFU and the provinces will continue to work to retain the best players.”