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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 2 December 2020

Ulster move quickly to give Stuart McCloskey new contract a year early

The powerful centre will be plying his trade in Belfast until June 2019.

Image: Ian MacNicol/INPHO

IT’S BEEN A long weekend of wound-licking for Ulster after their Pro12 semi-final exit at the hands of Leinster. But today they have some good news for the years ahead with confirmation that Stuart McCloskey has committed to the province until 2019.

The powerful 23-year-old centre only made his debut in 2014, but has impressed in almost every outing since and earned an international debut in Twickenham this year.

The academy graduate had a year to run on his existing contract, but has been signed on for an additional two years.

“This is fantastic news for the club as Stuart has been one of our standout performers all season,” says director of rugby Les Kiss.

A major strength of Stuart’s is his gain-line busting runs, which we have used to great effect this season. In addition to his powerful carrying ability, his deft handling and decoy lines have also caused havoc for defences.

“Stuart’s appetite to work with the coaches here to accelerate his development has resulted in a well-deserved first cap for Ireland. He is a major asset to Ulster Rugby and will continue to be so for years to come.”

The statement from Ulster also allows ‘the Bangor Bulldozer’ to mention that there had been overseas interest in his talents.

“Despite some strong interest from other clubs, it was a fairly straightforward decision since all of my family and friends are here,” McCloskey says.

Stuart McCloskey Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“The supporters, the facilities that we have and the quality of the coaching were all factors in my decision. We are developing strength in depth across the board and that will make us even more competitive next year. It’s good for me to have some really strong competition for places in midfield because we push each other to improve.

“We had a disappointing finish to the season but I believe things are promising for the future and I’m excited to be part of that.”

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Sean Farrell

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