Ulster hand Chris Henry new three-year deal
Connacht give winger Healy two-year contract
Ulster’s Chris Henry on the charge during the RaboDirect Pro12 game against Faith/PA
Ireland international backrow Chris Henry has signed a new three-year deal with Ulster that will keep him at Ravenhill until at least June 2017.
Henry, who turned 29 this week, has played 109 times for the province and also won eight international caps.
“I am delighted to have committed to Ulster for the long-term,” said Henry. “This squad is getting better and better. We have experience, as well as young players coming through who are proving that they can perform at the very highest level.
“It is a great team to be a part of and there is no doubt that when it comes to winning silverware – we have some unfinished business to do.
“From a personal point of view, I want to win more caps for Ireland and my aim is to be part of the World Cup squad in 2015. In my opinion, being at Ulster gives me the best chance to fulfil that ambition.”
Ulster’s director of rugby, David Humphreys, said: “Chris has been a cornerstone of our success in recent years. His performance against Montpellier typified what he brings to the Ulster team, namely – commitment, intensity and ferocity at the breakdown.
“It would be hard to find anyone who is more passionate about playing for Ulster than Chris Henry and I am extremely pleased that he will be part of the squad until at least 2017.”
Meanwhile, Connacht winger Matt Healy has signed a new two-year contract extension that will keep him in Galway until at least the summer of 2016.
Currently in his second season with the province after signing from Lansdowne, the 23 year-old has played in all but two games for Connacht this season, scoring tries against Zebre and the Cardiff Blues.
Healy has been capped nine times for the Ireland under-20s playing in the 2009 under-20 World Championship.
“I’m delighted to have signed with Connacht for another two years,” said Healy. “Obviously I got the chance to come down here the summer before last and that was huge for me. So for Connacht to extend the opportunity really fills me with confidence.
“I’m enjoying my rugby and really enjoying working with Pat (Lam) and the coaching staff here. With the squad that we have now and all the good work being done behind the scenes, Connacht is an exciting place to be. I’m certainly very happy to be a part of it.”
Connacht Head Coach Pat Lam added: “When I first worked with Matt in pre-season, I was impressed by what he could do. His attitude and willingness to learn and be better is exactly what we look for in a Connacht player.
“He has shown in his performances to date what he can do with his skill set and he has some special talents. He has so much potential and I believe that with his attitude, he can reach his goals if he continues to put the work in.
“I’m delighted that he wants to be part of the growth and vision of Connacht Rugby.”