Leinster props Cian Healy and Mike Ross sign new IRFU contracts
IRELAND props Cian Healy and Mike Ross have signed new contracts with the Irish Rugby Football Union.
The Leinster front rows, who start Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales, have committed themselves to Leinster five days after Jonathan Sexton confirmed he would leaving Dublin for an overseas club.
Healy, 25, has penned a three-year deal lasting until 2016 while Ross, 33, has agreed fresh terms that expire in 2015.
"It's 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," IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said.
"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."
The decision of two key members of Ireland's squad to sign new contracts has eased concerns that a number of Test players could leave for French clubs.
Sexton is expected to join Racing Metro in the summer on a bumper £640,000 per season contract with his Leinster colleague Rob Kearney claiming his move would test the waters for others to follow suit.
Kearney's own deal with the IRFU expires this season, while it was announced yesterday that Munster back row Peter O'Mahony would be staying Limerick until 2015.