Ulster duo sign extensions

Date published: November 8 2016

Ulster have announced that versatile prop Andy Warwick and second-row Pete Browne have signed fresh contracts with the PRO12 province.

Warwick has penned a three-year deal, which will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until 2020, while Browne has signed on until at least 2019.

Warwick, who attended Ballymena Academy, is a product of Hughes Insurance Ulster Academy and plays his club rugby for Ballymena RFC.

He made his Ulster debut in March 2014 against Cardiff Blues and scored his first try for the province in the home win over Treviso in February 2015.

The 25-year-old prop can operate on both sides of the scrum and has made 56 Ulster appearances to date, including nine this season.

"I've grown up supporting Ulster and have come through the player development pathway alongside a number of my close friends. It's a privilege to play for this team and I'm looking forward to the challenges that the next few years will bring," said Warwick.

Browne joined the club ahead of 2014/15 from London Welsh and earned 16 caps in his debut season. The 120kg lock made his 22nd appearance against Edinburgh on Friday.

He was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham and had spells with Harlequins and Newcastle Falcons in his early career. The 29-year-old has been capped by England Students but is eligible to play for Ireland through his father.

"I'm delighted to be extending my stay in Belfast. I've been made to feel so welcome by everyone within Ulster Rugby and by the wider community as well. I feel there is a lot more to come from this group of players and I'm hugely excited by the prospect of us moving our performances to the next level," said Browne.

Director of rugby Les Kiss added: "Andy and Pete are key members of the squad, which is highlighted in the large number of games they have played for us so far this season. It's imperative that we continue to develop our strength-in-depth across all positions and having these two on board for the next few years is a big plus in that regard.

"Andy is still relatively young for a prop and I have no doubt that we are still to see the best from him. His ability to cover both sides of the scrum is really valuable for us. Talented young Ulster men are the focal point of our squad and Andy is a great example of this.

"Pete came into our setup last year and started to make a real impact in the latter stages of the season. He has some fantastic attributes and his lineout work, ball carrying and ability to win turnovers are hugely important for us."