Healy and Ross agree new contracts

Cian Healy has signed a three-year contract

Cian Healy and Mike Ross have both committed to new contracts to remain in Ireland with Leinster.

Healy has agreed a new three-year deal until the end of the 2015/16 season while Ross has agreed a two-year term until the end of the 2014/15 season.

Both players have been selected in the Ireland team to face Wales on Saturday.

Healy made his debut for his hometown province in May 2007.

He has made 109 appearances for Leinster and won the first of 35 caps for Ireland against Australia in 2009.

Ross moved to Leinster from Harlequins for the beginning of the 2009/10 season and has gone on to make 80 appearances, with 24 Ireland caps under his belt.

The news was welcomed by Irish Rugby Football Union CEO Philip Browne after Jonathan Sexton announced he would not be renewing his deal last week, and he said the signatures showed the determination to keep players on the island.

“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.

"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."

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt added: “We’re delighted that both Cian and Mike have each committed their futures to the province. It is a timely boost, not just for Leinster but also for Ireland ahead of the Six Nations.

“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."

Ross said he wants to make more memories with the province to add to their remarkable success with this generation of players: "The last four years have been a great experience for me from winning my first cap for Ireland and playing in the Rugby World Cup to appearing in two Heineken Cup finals.

"Those are great memories and achievements in my career and so I’m delighted to have a new contract agreed to get the chance to hopefully continue that."

Healy feels there is more to come for Leinster: "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, so I’m really happy to have agreed a new contract to stay here in Ireland."