Healy and Ross accept new deals


Rugby:The IRFU has announced that Leinster and Ireland props Cian Healy and Mike Ross have committed to new contracts.

Healy, 25, who plays at loosehead, has signed a three-year deal that will keep him at Leinster until the end of the 2015/16 season, while tighthead Ross, 33, has been handed a two-year deal until the end of the 2014-15 season.

Cork-born Ross represented both Munster and Ireland at underage levels before moving to Harlequins. He moved back to Ireland and Leinster for the beginning of the 2009-10 season and has gone on to make 80 appearances for the province.

He made his debut for Ireland in June 2009 against Canada and has won 24 caps since then, appearing in the World Cup in 2011.

Healy was also an underage representative for both Leinster and Ireland and made his debut for the province in May 2007, only two months after winning Ireland’s first ever under-20 Grand Slam.

He has played 109 times for Leinster and also won the first of 35 caps for Ireland against Australia in 2009.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt welcomed the news that he will be able to work with the two props for the remainder of his time ain Ireland.

“We’re delighted that both Cian and Mike have each committed their futures to the province. It is a timely boost, not just for Leinster but also for Ireland ahead of the Six Nations.

“Cian has proven himself at club and international levels over the last number of seasons. He has packed a lot of achievements into his career already and it is hard to believe he is just 25 years of age. We believe that Cian’s best years are to come and we are pleased that he will do so in the colours of his home province.

“Mike has been a mainstay of the Leinster squad and a consistent force in both the Leinster and Ireland frontrows over the last few years. He has played a key role in our recent successes and his impressive form - in what is one of the most physically rigorous positions in the game - is a testament to his durability.”

For his part, Healy is keen to add to his and the province’s successes in recent years.

“The whole experience of playing for Leinster is something that I wanted to keep with me and also possibly winning more silverware as well,” said Healy. “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.”

Ross added: “The last four years have been a great experience for me from winning my first cap for Ireland and playing in the Rugby World Cup to appearing in two Heineken Cup finals. Those are great memories and achievements in my career and so I’m delighted to have a new contract agreed to get the chance to hopefully continue that.”

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