Leinster have announced new contracts for hooker James Tracy, veteran free-scoring and decorated wing Dave Kearney and forward Ross Molony and are set to extend Devin Toner’s record-breaking stay for another year.
They have also handed 21-year-old tighthead Tom Clarkson his first professional, just hours after capturing Samoan Michael Alaalatoa.
Clarkson, who made his debut against Ulster last August, played nine times in the Guinness Pro14 this season.
His promotion to a roster that also includes senior Irish stars Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong could revive the notion that Porter may switch back to loosehead.
Along with Vakh Abdaladze, a third Irish international, Michael Bent, is also on the books with Leinster but this week’s news would seem to signal his imminent departure.
Leinster announced their new contracts in four separate tweets to supporters during the day – fans will be anxious to see Tadhg Furlong’s name added to the list soon as he is yet to confirm his future intentions.
Clarkson was a member of the Ireland U20 team that won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019.
He also helped Noel McNamara’s side clinch a Triple Crown in last year’s championship.
“His integration into the group has been fantastic really and we were just commenting earlier as coaches, looking back on the footage of today’s training, how well he has fitted in and adapted to the different demands, the step-up into this environment,” said Royn McBryde during Clarkson’s breakthrough season with Leinster.
“He’s a really exciting player, so there’s a couple of ways we could play with that. You could start with experience and bring on some youth.
“Or you can start with the youngster, let him make a couple of mistakes maybe, and then bring the experienced head off the bench and finish the game off. It’s an interesting combination but between the four of them, it’s a great mix to have.”