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Ireland back row Ryan Baird to stay at Leinster

By Ian Cameron
Ryan Baird of Leinster and Leinster senior coach Jacques Nienaber after their side's victory in the Investec Champions Cup quarter-final match between Leinster and La Rochelle at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ryan Baird has signed a contract extension with Leinster, the province confirmed on Sunday morning.

The 22-year-old forward’s extension signals a continued commitment to the club’s developmental pathway, a system that has yielded remarkable results in recent years.

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Baird’s journey with Leinster began when he joined the academy shortly after completing his leaving certificate examinations in 2018.

The 6’6, 112kg forward quickly garnered attention for his exceptional physical attributes, with reports circulating of his remarkable prowess in the gym and his exploits as a schoolboy rugby star with St Michaels.

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Baird’s journey continued as he made his Leinster debut in 2019, following Ireland’s U20 Six Nations Grand Slam win. His breakthrough came in the 2019-2020 season when he scored a hat-trick against Glasgow and earned his spot on the senior Irish national team.

Originally a lock, Baird embraced the challenge of playing at blindside flanker, where his freakish athleticism has seen him excel.

He has since become an essential part of the squad, offering versatility between the second row and the blindside. He has played No.6 for 53 per cent of his professional career to date, the other 47 per cent coming in the engine room.

Despite facing setbacks due to injuries, Baird is favoured to be a long-term solution at blindside for Andy Farrell’s Ireland when Munster flanker Peter O’Mahony hangs up his boots.

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