McCloskey signs contract extension

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McCloskey signs contract extension

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[tag=image] ... 56x500.jpg[/tag][tag=content]Ulster Rugby have announced that their Player of the Year Stuart McCloskey has signed a contract extension with the province that will keep him at Ulster until the summer of 2019.

The centre made his Ulster debut in February 2014 as a replacement against the Newport-Gwent Dragons in the Guinness PRO12 and has since gone on to make 42 appearances for his province, scoring eight tries.

This season saw McCloskey make 23 appearances at inside centre for Ulster, scoring four tries, as well as drawing praise from across Europe for his performances both domestically and in the Champions’ Cup.

The 23-year old was rewarded for his excellent form when he was named in Ireland’s squad for this year’s RBS Six Nations Championship where he made his international debut at Twickenham against England.

The Hughes Insurance Academy graduate still had a year left on his initial contract with Ulster, but he says there was no doubt in his mind about signing a long-term deal at the Kingspan Stadium.

“I grew up here in Ulster and it was always a dream to pull on the jersey,” McCloskey claimed. “Despite some strong interest from other clubs, it was a fairly straightforward decision since all of my family and friends are here.

“The supporters, the facilities that we have and the quality of the coaching were all factors in my decision.

“We are developing strength in depth across the board and that will make us even more competitive next year. It’s good for me to have some really strong competition for places in midfield because we push each other to improve.

“We had a disappointing finish to the season but I believe things are promising for the future and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Ulster’s Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, also expressed his delight that McCloskey, who formed a formidable partnership with Luke Marshall throughout the season, has agreed to stay on a long-term deal.

He commented, “This is fantastic news for the club as Stuart has been one of our standout performers all season. A major strength of Stuart’s is his gain-line busting runs, which we have used to great effect this season. In addition to his powerful carrying ability, his deft handling and decoy lines have also caused havoc for defences.

“Stuart’s appetite to work with the coaches here to accelerate his development has resulted in a well-deserved first cap for Ireland. He is a major asset to Ulster Rugby and will continue to be so for years to come.”
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