FRESH FROM HELPING Leinster to a third Heineken Cup final in four years, centre Gordon D’Arcy has agreed a new two-year international contract which will keep him at the province until 2014.
D’Arcy starred in yesterday’s nailbiting 19-15 win against Clermont Auvergne in Bordeaux, setting up an all-Ireland European showdown against Ulster in Twickenham on 19 May.
The Wexford native’s deal was one of 18 extensions announced this morning by Leinster, who have also signed two new Irish-qualified forwards in Michael Bent and Tom Denton.
But there is still no concrete news on winger Luke Fitzgerald, despite strong hints by coach Joe Schmidt that he expects to see a deal finalised within the next week.
As expected, star back Isa Nacewa has signed a one-year extension which will also see him remain in Ireland until the summer of 2014.
Ireland international Kevin McLaughlin has signed a three-year deal while there are two-year extensions for Isaac Boss, Eoin Reddan and Rhys Ruddock.
Club captain Leo Cullen, Fionn Carr, John Cooney, Brendan Macken and Springbok prop Heinke van der Merwe have all agreed one-year deals.
Academy products Andrew Conway, David Kearney and Ian Madigan have been rewarded for their performances with two-year extensions, as have Leo Auva’a and Aaron Dundon, while Mark Flanagan and Tom Sexton have signed one-year development contracts.
Michael Bent, 26, will join Leinster this summer from Super 15 franchise the Hurricanes in his native New Zealand. The tighthead prop will be joined in the pack by English second row Tom Denton, 24, who joins from Leeds Carnegie in the Aviva Championship.
Joe Schmidt said: “There is a welcome mix of home-grown youth and experienced players amongst this batch of renewals, while we are delighted to announce extensions for Isa (Nacewa) and Heinke (van der Merwe) who have both contributed a significant amount on and off the field of play since their arrival.
Each of the players have expressed a real enthusiasm to be part of a competitive Leinster squad and it is testament to the hard work of the staff and players – allied with the backing of our growing band of supporters – that has helped make the environment here such a very positive one.