If Ireland’s efforts on the pitch have been mixed in this Six Nations then results off it have been better.
Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, and Iain Henderson had already signed up to new central contracts with the IRFU and it has now been announced that Cian Healy has joined them with a one-year deal that takes him up to the summer of 2022.
Healy is 33 now and recovered from a career-threatening injury in the middle of the last decade to push through the 100-cap barrier. He has now played 107 games for Ireland having made his debut against Australia 12 years ago.
He was also a British and Irish Lion in 2013. Injury cut that tour short but, at his best, Healy was world-class and he is still a key part of the Ireland squad even as Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne challenges him for the starting loosehead slot.
“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade,” said IRFU performance director David Nucifora. “He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level. Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”
The Dubliner has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and four European Cups with Leinster, not to mention his PRO14 collection.
“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever,” said Healy. “I am lucky enough to currently be part of two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.
“I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”
The IRFU has still to confirm deals for Keith Earls, Tadhg Furlong, and CJ Stander but all three are expected to renew their ties with the union and their provinces.