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Max Deegan opts to stay at Leinster over Ulster move

By Josh Raisey
Max Deegan of Leinster after his side's defeat in the United Rugby Championship match between Emirates Lions and Leinster at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Max Deegan has signed a new deal with Leinster, extending his eight-year association with the team.

It was understood by RugbyPass that the 27-year-old had been in advanced talks with Ulster and the IRFU. However, he has committed to the province he has spent his entire career at, having made his debut against the Dragons in December 2016.

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The two-cap Ireland international, who brought up his century of appearances for Leinster in October, was absent from the 20-17 Investec Champions Cup semi-final victory over Northampton Saints on Saturday at Croke Park, but started in the No8 jersey in their previous two matches against the Stormers and the Lions in South Africa.

Deegan made his last Ireland appearance against Fiji in November 2022. With the Irish contingent of Caelan Doris, Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier and Ryan Baird all on Leinster’s books, he has been unable to establish himself as a first-choice player for his province, let alone his country.

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The back row addressed the competition he faces at Leinster last year. He said: “There are four back rows in the Ireland squad from Leinster, so if you’re beating them in here, then you’re getting into the Ireland squad, I believe.”

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“If you’re playing week in, week out in the Leinster team I think you have a good chance of getting in the Ireland squad.”

With their place in the Champions Cup final against Toulouse booked for the end of the month, Deegan and his teammates will switch their focus back to the United Rugby Championship this week with a visit from the Ospreys on Saturday before travelling to Ulster the week after.

Leinster’s fruitless tour of South Africa saw them slip to second in the URC table, with Glasgow Warriors now holding a four-point lead over them with three more rounds remaining of the regular season.

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