Monday 21 August 2017

Ross to end his time with Leinster as raft of young stars commit futures

Mike Ross has confirmed he will retire
Mike Ross has confirmed he will retire
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Mike Ross will bring an end to his eight-year stay at Leinster at the end of the season when his contract expires. It is unclear yet whether the 37-year-old will move to another club or call it a day.

Ross has been a key man at Leinster, where he enjoyed plenty of success in the Heineken Cup and the Guinness PRO12.

He went on to become a fulcrum of Ireland's scrum at tighthead but has recently been overtaken by younger players like Tadhg Furlong and John Ryan.

A serious hamstring injury picked up last November hampered the Cork native's progress this season but he is in line to make his 150th appearance for Leinster against the Ospreys on Saturday.

Leinster yesterday confirmed a raft of contract extensions, including Jack Conan, who turned down the chance to join Ulster and Dan Leavy, who Munster were interested in signing.

Comeback

Twin brothers Bryan and Ed Byrne also renewed their deals after the latter capped a remarkable comeback after 28 months out injured with two serious knee injuries.

"You need to have a strong squad capable of challenging on two fronts," head coach Leo Cullen said.

"We have used 51 players so far this season in the PRO12 and the Champions Cup, and with 14 players capped during Ireland's Six Nations campaign it is vitally important that we have that level of competition and experience across the squad at all times."

Hayden Triggs, Dominic Ryan and Billy Dardis will follow Ross out the Leinster exit door at the end of the season.

Ulster were also boosted by the news that three of their exciting young talents, Jacob Stockdale, Rob Lyttle and Ross Kane, have extended their contracts.

Stockdale has impressed on the wing this season, while so too has full-back Lyttle, who was part of Ireland's U-20s Six Nations squad. Flanker Kane captained Methodist College to the Ulster Schools Senior Cup in 2013.

Elsewhere, Billy Scannell, younger brother of Munster duo Niall and Rory, has been included in the Ireland U-18 schools squad for the International Series which takes place in Wales from Saturday for a week.

Scannell isn't the only sibling of a provincial rising star to be named as David Ryan, Harry Byrne and Josh Wycherley hope to follow in the path of older brothers James, Ross and Fineen, respectively.

Leinster contract renewals: Adam Byrne, Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Jack Conan, Barry Daly, Tom Daly, Jamie Heaslip, Mick Kearney, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Ian Nagle, Noel Reid, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner.

Irish Independent

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