The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby announced today that centre Paddy Wallace and prop Tom Court have each agreed new contracts to remain playing in Ireland.
Paddy Wallace has signed a one-year deal which will see him contracted to the IRFU and Ulster Rugby until June 2013, while Tom Court has agreed a two-year term which will see him wear Ulster colours until June 2014.
Both players were part of the Ireland squad that reached the quarter-final stage of this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Wallace, currently the longest serving member of the Ulster squad, made his provincial debut against Swansea in August 2001.
Educated at Campbell College, Belfast, he was part of Ireland’s Under-19 Rugby World Cup winning side in 1998 and represented Ireland at Under-21, ‘A’ and Sevens level.
The versatile back won his first Ireland senior cap when he came on a replacement against South Africa in November 2006. He was a member of Ireland squad that won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.
Moving from his native Australia, Court joined Ulster at the start of the 2006/07 season. Irish qualified through ancestry, he was one of the best shot putters in Australia and was a late convert to rugby union, taking up the game at the University of Queensland.
From there he was invited to join the Queensland Reds Rugby Academy and played for New Zealand province Manawatu, before returning to Australia to feature in the Reds Super 14 squad.
No sooner had he arrived in Belfast than he was taken to the USA and Canada as part of the Ireland ‘A’ Churchill Cup squad and having won his first full Irish cap in the 2009 Six Nations, he is now a regular member of Ireland’s matchday squad.
Commenting on his new contract, Court said: “I’ve had a great run here so far and Belfast is very much home now for my young family, so I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with Ulster.
“I think we’ve made some real progress over the past two to three seasons, the Ulster team is as tight as ever and it’s a brilliant boost for me to sign a new deal and ensure that I’m part of that set-up.
“It’s great to get the contract agreed early, and to have the certainty about where I’m going to be for the foreseeable future.
“Now I can just concentrate on the rugby. Winning silverware with Ulster will be my main goal, and if things go well with Ulster then hopefully Ireland will fall into place.”