Peter O’Mahony signs three year IRFU contract as does Ulster’s Iain Henderson

Munster captain is the latest Irish player to reject foreign interest and sign an extension

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has signed a three year contract to remain with his home province. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has signed a three year contract to remain with his home province. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

It’s been a tough week for Munster with hooker Damien Varley being forced to retire from rugby after failing to fully recover from a foot injury and Robin Copeland being ruled out for the remainder of the season, so news that captain Peter O’Mahony has signed a three year contract extension will be savoured all the more.

The IRFU-funded three year deal will see the Irish flanker remain at the province until at least June 2018.

The Cork Constitution club man who made his senior debut for Munster against Ulster in January 2010 says he is “delighted” with the new deal.

Toulouse headed a host of French Top 14 clubs who were reportedly monitoring the player but like a number of his Irish team mates such as Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien, O’Mahony has opted to continue playing his rugby on home soil.

“Munster is my home province, the team I’ve grown up supporting and I am honoured to both represent and captain them.

“I look forward to working hard with my team mates, coaching staff and management to achieve continued success for both Munster and Ireland in the years ahead”.

O’Mahony was a Pro12 League winner after that initial season in 2010 and has made 68 appearances for Munster scoring 10 tries.

Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said, “Peter, a product of our academy system, is hugely competitive and highly ambitious. He leads by example on and off the field and is a perfect role model for all aspiring young players.”

The 25-year-old made his Ireland debut in the 42 - 10 win over Italy in February 2012 and has won 27 caps for his country, last featuring in the 18 - 11 victory over France in the 2015 RBS Six Nations Championship. As well as captaining his province O’Mahony captained his country during the 2013 Summer Tour of North America.

IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora also added that “Peter’s performances for Ireland over the past few seasons have been exceptional.

“The esteem in which he is held by Irish rugby is reflected in the fact that at the age of just 25 he has already captained his country and province. Leadership is just one of the many qualities he brings to Munster and Ireland and we are delighted that he has committed to Irish Rugby.”

Ulster have also been given a timely boost today with the news that their own Ireland international backrow Iain Henderson has too signed a new three-year contract.

The versatile 22 year-old, who can play in the backrow or secondrow, made his debut for Ulster against Connacht in April 2012 and he has made 41 appearances for the province since then.

The former pupil of Belfast Royal Academy will now remain at the Kingspan Stadium until at least the summer of 2018.

Commenting on his new contract, Henderson said: “As a proud Ulsterman it remains a massive honour to play for Ulster Rugby. By signing a new contract, it allows me to focus on achieving my personal goals alongside the ambitions here at Kingspan Stadium. I am very much looking forward to the next three years.”

Ulster Rugby’s team manager Bryn Cunningham says there was a lot of European interest for a player he believes is one of the most exciting young prospects on the continent.

“He is an exceptionally powerful runner with ball-in-hand, his strength and high work-rate around the park make him a vital member of our squad.

“As we seek to build a team around a core group of highly talented, homegrown Ulster players, retaining the services of someone like Iain was hugely important to us.

“We know that with his ability and with what he has achieved already in the game that there were other leading European clubs extremely keen to sign him, therefore I am delighted that he has committed to his home province for a further three seasons.”

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