McCloskey re-signs with Ulster

Date published: May 24 2016

Ulster's Rugby Player of the Year, Stuart McCloskey, has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until 2019.

McCloskey made his Ulster debut back in February 2014 as a replacement in the PRO12 fixture against Dragons. He has accumulated 42 appearances for the Province, registering eight tries.

The Academy graduate has undoubtedly just completed his finest season to date in an Ulster jersey, with four tries in 23 games and numerous Man of the Match awards in both the PRO12 and Champions Cup.

The 23-year-old was rewarded for his fine form with a call up to the Ireland squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship and he made his international debut against England at Twickenham in February.

McCloskey, who still had a year remaining on his previous contract, says he had little hesitation in signing a long-term deal with the Province: "I grew up here in Ulster and it was always a dream to pull on the jersey.

"Despite some strong interest from other clubs, it was a fairly straightforward decision since all of my family and friends are here. The supporters, the facilities that we have and the quality of the coaching were all factors in my decision.

"We are developing strength in depth across the board and that will make us even more competitive next year. It's good for me to have some really strong competition for places in midfield because we push each other to improve.

"We had a disappointing finish to the season but I believe things are promising for the future and I'm excited to be part of that."

Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, is delighted that the former Bangor Grammar School pupil has extended his contract with Ulster: "This is fantastic news for the club as Stuart has been one of our standout performers all season.

"A major strength of Stuart's is his gain-line busting runs, which we have used to great effect this season. In addition to his powerful carrying ability, his deft handling and decoy lines have also caused havoc for defences.

"Stuart's appetite to work with the coaches here to accelerate his development has resulted in a well-deserved first cap for Ireland. He is a major asset to Ulster and will continue to be so for years to come."