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IRFU statements: Contract extensions for Ryan and van der Flier

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The IRFU have confirmed that James Ryan and Josh van der Flier have agreed to respective contract extensions through to the summer of 2025 and 2026. A statement on the Ryan deal that was announced on Tuesday morning read: “Ireland’s James Ryan has signed a two-year IRFU contract extension up to the end of the 2024/25 season. 

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“Ryan has become a central figure in the Ireland squad’s leadership group in recent years having made his international debut at the age of 20 against the USA in New Jersey in 2017.

“Ryan won his 51st cap for Ireland against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico during the recent Guinness Six Nations on what was his seventh occasion captaining the senior national team. 

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“For Ireland, he played a central role in the 2018 and 2023 Grand Slam successes along with the Triple Crown secured in 2022. The 26-year-old started all three Tests against New Zealand in July securing a first series win in Aotearoa and also played in four of Ireland’s matches at Rugby World Cup 2019. 

“At Leinster, Ryan has won a Heineken European Champions Cup (2018) and four Guinness PRO14 titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). He has made 71 appearances for Leinster, scoring four tries.” 

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IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “James has established himself as a world-class lock and is developing as a strong leader within the national squad and with his province. He has achieved a lot already in his career but at just 26 years of age he continues to develop his game and will be a force for Ireland and Leinster for years to come.” 

Ryan added: “The ambition of Leinster and Ireland to improve each day and win trophies is one of the reasons why it is so enjoyable to be part of these squads. There is also a great camaraderie and competitive edge in both squads.  

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“I have also been fortunate to captain my country over the past couple of seasons which has been an incredibly proud moment for me and my family.”

The IRFU confirmed their extended deal with van der Flier later on Tuesday. That statement read: “Josh van der Flier has signed an IRFU extension to his current Leinster contract that will see him continue his career in Ireland until at least the end of the 2025/26 season.

“The 2022 World Rugby player of the year won his 50th international cap against England in the final round of Ireland’s 2023 Grand Slam campaign. Josh has started 19 of Ireland’s last 21 games including all three Tests of the series win against New Zealand in 2022.”

Nucifora said: “Josh’s journey to the top of the international game has not been straightforward but his dedication, work ethic and professionalism have driven him to deliver a consistency of performance that has elevated him to world player of the year and a key contributor to the nation team’s success in recent seasons.”

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Van der Flier added: “It is a privilege to be a part of two incredible rugby environments. I am very grateful to the coaches at both Leinster and Ireland who have helped me to develop my game over the years.

“I appreciate that I get to go to work each day with some of my best friends, doing something that I love and I am thankful for the incredible support of my wife and family who have been with me for every step of this journey so far.”

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