Irish quartet sign new deals
November 26, 2008
Ireland's form open-side David Wallace is one of four senior players to re-sign with the IRFU © Getty Images
Ireland have tied four of their internationals - including vice captain Paul O'Connell - to new contracts. O'Connell, Denis Leamy, David Wallace and John Hayes have agreed fresh terms that will see them continue playing provincial rugby with Munster.
The new contracts will keep Munster skipper O'Connell and back row Leamy at Thomond Park until 2012. Veterans Hayes, Ireland's most capped prop, and in-form openside Wallace will remain with the province until 2010. O'Connell, Wallace and Hayes featured for Ireland this autumn while Leamy's return from a shoulder injury will see him back in the reckoning for the Six Nations.
Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Philip Browne is delighted by the new deals at a time when lucrative contracts are available in England and France. Browne said, "This news indicates the continued desire of the IRFU to keep as many of our top professional players within the provincial structures. The fact four players of this calibre have committed themselves to continue their careers in Ireland is testament to the positive playing environment that has been put in place for them.
"With increasing market pressures on the retention of players, the IRFU is continually working with the provinces to provide the right facilities and support to ensure that the player's decision to stay in Ireland is an easier one to make."
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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