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James Ryan has signed a three-year IRFU contract up to the end of the 2022/23 season. The Ireland lock made his Test debut at the age of 20, coming off the bench against the USA in 2017 and scoring a try less than 60 seconds later.

Ryan, who captained the Ireland under-20s to the final of the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championships in Manchester, has since gone on to become a fixture in the senior Irish pack winning 24 caps, including four starts in Ireland’s Grand Slam Six Nations campaign of 2018.

He made his Leinster debut against the Dragons in September 2017, going on to make 37 appearances and scoring two tries.

IRFU high performance director David Nucifora said: “James is still a young man but he has delivered consistent high level performances for both Ireland and Leinster.

“He is growing into a leadership role with the national team and has a big future for both Ireland and Leinster.”

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Ryan added: “I’m delighted to sign an IRFU contract. A lot has been packed into the start of my professional career with both Ireland and Leinster and there has been some great success and a few disappointments, but I’m involved in two very exciting squads that want to be challenging for trophies.”

The upgrading of Ryan to a centrally funded IRFU deal follows the November upgrade for Connacht’s Bundee Aki, who was similarly promoted from a provincial deal to national terms through to the end of 2022/23 season.

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Both Ryan and Aki have been picked by new boss Andy Farrell in the Ireland team to face Wales next Saturday.

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