Kearney extends Leinster deal
Rugby:Rob Kearney has extended his contract with Leinster by two years, a deal that will keep him at the province until the end of the 2014/15 season.
The news will come as a relief to Leinster and Ireland fans ahead of the departure of outhalf Jonathan Sexton to France next season.
The fullback broke the news on Twitter this afternoon, saying: "There is no place like home. Delighted to have re signed with Leinster for two more years... Great club, players, coaches and supporters!"
The IRFU confirmed the deal soon afterwards, with ceo Philip Browne insisting “it is an indication of the efforts that we are making to keep as many of our players at home for the benefit of the provinces and Irish Rugby as a whole."
In the official statement, Kearney added: "I'm delighted to be continuing my rugby career in Ireland. Leinster Rugby has always been my home and I am very excited to be remaining here to play with a great bunch of players and coaching staff. I have been very lucky to have experienced success with that same group over the last number of years and with the great support we have, it made it a very easy decision for me."
The Louthman debuted for Leinster in 2005 and has won three Heineken Cup with the province, in 2009, 2011 and 2012. He won his first Ireland cap on the left wing against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 2007 before developing into arguably the best fullback in the game ahead of being named European player of the year last season.
"After being named ERC player of the year in 2012," Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt said today, "Rob has had a few frustrations with injury in the first half of this season, but he has added genuine value since returning to the side in early January.
“From the Leinster Academy through to the senior team and on to the international stage with Ireland and then the Lions in South Africa, Rob has shown his tremendous rugby ability and genuine drive to keep progressing, so it's great that he'll be continuing with Leinster in the years to come."