The lure of a three-year contract offer from London Irish was plenty enough to convince Tom Court it was time to leave Ulster and potentially international rugby with Ireland behind.
At the age of 33 and with his two-year Ulster deal up at the end of this season, Court, pictured, could not be blamed for signing up with the Aviva Premiership outfit, also home to former Ulster fly-half Ian Humphreys, ex-Leinster front rower Jamie Hagan and former Munster scrum-half Tomás O’Leary.
Having been left out of successive Ireland squads by Declan Kidney following the Irish front-row capitulation at Twickenham in March 2012, when the loosehead was asked to cover for injured tighthead Mike Ross, Court has earned his place back in the international set-up under new national head coach Joe Schmidt.
Yet he lost out to Jack McGrath and Cian Healy for a place in the matchday squad that faced Samoa last weekend and with McGrath’s man of the match performance underlining his ascendancy, as well the rising stars in Munster of Dave Kilcoyne and James Cronin, the competition for places at loosehead prop is hotter than ever.
Yet Australian-born Court, capped 32 times by Ireland, has been in peak form for Ulster this season&.
“I feel that this is the right decision with regards to me and my career,” Court said. “It is going to be very sad when the time comes to actually leave and finish up, but there is a lot of rugby left for me with the Province. There are six months remaining of this season, so there is even more motivation for me to make the most of it while I am here and to try and help Ulster win something.”
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