Irish international props Cian Healy and Mike Ross have signed new contracts to remain in Ireland and play for Leinster.
Irish international props Cian Healy and Mike Ross have signed new contracts to remain in Ireland playing for Leinster.
Both players were named in the Ireland team to play Wales in Saturday's Six Nations opener.
25-year-old Healy has agreed to a new three-year-contract while Ross has signed a two-year deal.
Healy was a also an age-group representative for both Leinster and Ireland and made his debut for his home province in 2007 only two months after winning Ireland's first ever U20 Grand Slam. He has made 109 appearances for Leinster and won 35 caps for his country.
Cork-born Ross, who has 24-caps for Ireland, has represented both Munster and Ireland at age-group levels before moving to Harlequins in the English premiership. He agreed a move back to Ireland and Leinster for the beginning of the 2009/10 season and has gone on to make 80 appearances for the province.
“It is a very strong sign for Irish Rugby to have such important players to both the Leinster and Ireland teams committing their futures to remain playing here,” said IRFU CEO Philip Browne.
“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 in Ireland.
Healy said he was happy to stay in Ireland.
“The whole experience of playing for Leinster is something that I wanted to keep with me and also possibly winning more silverware as well. 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,” said Healy.
Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt added that the news was a “timely boost, not just for Leinster but also for Ireland ahead of the Six Nations.”
“We're delighted that both Cian and Mike have each committed their futures to the province,” said Schmidt.
“As a product of the Leinster system with Belvedere College SJ at schools level, then Clontarf at club level before graduating into the Academy system, 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…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 front-rows 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.”