'It is a privilege': Ireland get double boost
NEWS: Ireland stars Josh van der Flier and James Ryan have signed IRFU contract extensions.
Van der Flier has signed an extension to his current Leinster contract that will see him continue his career in Ireland until at least the end of the 2025/26 season.
Ryan’s extension goes up to the end of the 2024/25 season
Van der Vlier, the 2022 World Player of the Year, won his 50th international cap against England in the final round of Ireland’s 2023 Six Nations Championship Grand Slam campaign.
He made his international debut against England in the 2016 Six Nations Championship and would later that year play his part in Ireland’s first-ever win over New Zealand at Soldier Field.
He played every minute of the 2023 Six Nations Championship and featured in the first game of the 2018 Grand Slam campaign before injury ruled him out of the rest of the Championship. The 29-year-old has started 19 of Ireland’s last 21 games including all three Tests of the series win against New Zealand in July of 2022.
Van der Flier made his debut for Leinster against Zebre in October 2014. He has since racked up 125 appearances for his province scoring 25 tries and has won a Heineken Champions Cup (2018) and four PRO14/URC titles (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021). He was also named EPCR European Player of the Year in 2022.
IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented: “Josh’s journey to the top of the international game has not been straightforward but his dedication, work ethic and professionalism have driven him to deliver a consistency of performance that has elevated him to World Player of the Year and a key contributor to the national team’s success in recent seasons.”
Josh van der Flier commented: “It is a privilege to be a part of two incredible rugby environments. I am very grateful to the coaches at both Leinster and Ireland who have helped me to develop my game over the years. I appreciate that I get to go to work each day with some of my best friends, doing something that I love and I am thankful for the incredible support of my wife and family who have been with me for every step of this journey so far.”
Ryan has become a central figure in the Ireland squad’s leadership group in recent years having made his international debut at the age of 20 against the USA in New Jersey in 2017.
Ryan won his 51st cap for Ireland against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico during the recent Six Nations, on what was his seventh occasion captaining the senior national team.
For Ireland he played a central role in the 2018 and 2023 Grand Slam successes along with the Triple Crown secured in 2022. The 26-year-old started all three Tests against New Zealand in July securing a first Series win in Aotearoa and also played in four of Ireland’s matches at Rugby World Cup 2019.
At Leinster, Ryan has won a European Champions Cup (2018) and four Pro14 titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). He has made 71 appearances for Leinster, scoring four tries.
Nucifora commented: “James has established himself as a world-class lock and is developing as a strong leader within the national squad and with his province. He has achieved a lot already in his career but at just 26 years of age he continues to develop his game and will be a force for Ireland and Leinster for years to come.”
Ryan commented: “The ambition of Leinster and Ireland to improve each day and win trophies is one of the reasons why it is so enjoyable to be part of these squads. There is also a great camaraderie and competitive edge in both squads. I have also been fortunate to captain my country over the past couple of seasons which has been an incredibly proud moment for me and my family.”