A shaft of light amid the glooming. Garry Ringrose is believed to have signed a two-year contract to continue playing with Leinster and Ireland until at least the end of the 2021-22 season.

Somewhat surprisingly, it will be the 25-year-old’s first central contract with the IRFU, having hitherto been on a provincial contract with Leinster. Ringrose had intimated a desire to continue playing within these shores for his native province and had seemed unperturbed that the negotiations had dragged into the Six Nations.

Speaking last January, Ringrose said: “Hopefully I can sort something out in the next couple of weeks – get things right. Obviously I am working with Niall Woods, my agent, and both my parents weigh in as well on whatever needs to be looked at. I take a step back outside of rugby and take a look at what is best and flick a switch back into rugby and forget about that that.

“The stage I am at, that is all going on in the background, but hopefully I can sort it out. I’m certainly looking forward to this year. I usually narrow the focus to the nearest challenge in terms of with Leinster, so it’s getting picked to play on any given week and then to keep driving towards the ultimate goal. Then the same with Ireland.

“I would obviously love to continue that for as long as I could,” he added, in a clear statement of intent to remain on home soil.

Even so, as one of the last frontline Irish players to be out of contract at the end of the current 2019-20 season, his new deal will be a relief to Leinster and their supporters, as well as Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.



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