Rory Best and Rob Kearney sign new IRFU contracts
Best captained his country to the NatWest 6 Nations title.
The pair are the only members of Joe Schmidt’s squad to participate in the recent Grand Slam success – sealed by Saturday’s 24-15 victory over England at Twickenham – and the clean sweep of 2009.
Best, who has amassed 111 caps, was at the helm throughout the NatWest 6 Nations title run and since taking over as skipper two years ago, Ireland have registered their first victory over New Zealand and a maiden Test win against the Springboks in South Africa.
Breaking News: @RoryBest2 signs IRFU contract extension to the end of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 20, 2018
He has captained Ireland to a 1st win over the Springboks in South Africa, a 1st win against New Zealand and to the Grand Slam on Saturday.#ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/1MT5tSeDfn
“I am in a very privileged position as captain of Ireland and Ulster to be involved with two groups of incredibly talented players,” said Best, who continues at Ulster as part of the deal.
“I feel I can continue to make a contribution to both Ireland and Ulster and am delighted to have extended my contract to the next World Cup.”
Kearney has accumulated 83 caps since making his debut in 2007 and started every match of the 2018 campaign, culminating in an outstanding performance against England.
News: @KearneyRob signs IRFU contract extension to November 2019.— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 20, 2018
He started in every game of the 2009, 2014, 2015 & 2018 Championship wins and Ireland's win over New Zealand.#TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/jiXSDsRL6G
“I am delighted to have extended my IRFU contract and look forward to continuing to achieve with this Ireland squad,” the Leinster double British and Irish Lions tourist said.
“There have been some fantastic days for both Ireland and Leinster over the course of my career and there is huge potential for growth in both squads as we look to build and develop and challenge for honours.”
Lions lock Iain Henderson became the third Ireland player to agree a contract extension after signing a deal that will extend his stay at Ulster until 2021.