Saturday 1 October 2016

McGrath signs deal as Best moves closer to captaincy

Published 27/11/2015 | 02:30

Ulster captain Rory Best yesterday confirmed his intention to stay on with the province
Ulster captain Rory Best yesterday confirmed his intention to stay on with the province

Leinster supporters are due to be given a boost after it emerged that highly-rated loosehead prop Jack McGrath is poised to sign a new contract with the club, albeit it is only for two years' duration.

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And Ulster captain Rory Best yesterday confirmed his intention to stay on with the province too, hardening his status as the clear favourite to emerge as the successor to Paul O'Connell as Joe Schmidt's captain for the 2016 Six Nations campaign.

Meanwhile, Ireland full-back Rob Kearney has warned his team-mates that moving abroad is not about "just the financial incentive".

A clutch of Leinster players are contemplating whether their future may lie abroad from next season.

But Kearney, who has resisted similar temptations in the past, has urged caution as leading players such as Ian Madigan and Sean O'Brien contemplate their next move.

Flogged

"You get to play at home," says Kearney. "You play with all your friends, we've got brilliant facilities. We get very well looked after. We don't get flogged.

"It's all the softer stuff, aside from money, that are important when you need to re-assess about moving up and going abroad. There is a lot more to it than just the financial incentive."

Meanwhile, Ulster hooker Best will extend an already 11-year professional career until at least 2018 after signing a new two-year deal.

"I am very happy to have signed a new deal," said the 89-times capped Banbridge hooker, who debuted a decade ago this month against New Zealand.

"It is a great honour to play for Ulster and Ireland and I am privileged to have the opportunity to captain this talented group of Ulster players. Our challenge now is to deliver on the promise we have shown and reward our fans with strong performances."

Added Ulster coach Les Kiss: "His leadership, tenacity and drive are incredibly important to what we are looking to achieve at Ulster Rugby."

Irish Independent

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