Versatile Ulster back Paddy Wallace has signed a new one-year deal with the province that will see him remain at Ravenhill until the summer of 2014.
Paddy Wallace, who is 33, is the longest serving member of the Ulster squad. He made his senior debut in 2001 and has gone on to play 188 times for Ulster, scoring 439 points.
Educated at Campbell College, Wallace has won 30 caps for Ireland and was part of the squad that won the Grand Slam in 2009.
Commenting on his new Ulster contract, Wallace said: “I am delighted to have agreed a new deal and I look forward to recovering from injury and playing next season.
“This Ulster squad is the strongest that I have been involved in and I have no doubt that we will be competing for silverware next year. I want to be a part of that and to hopefully to become the first player to make 200 appearances for the province.”
Meanwhile, back rower Mike McComish has signed a two-year contract extension that will see him remain at Ulster until 2015.
McComish rejoined Ulster from Connacht at the start of the 2011/12 campaign and has been an important member of Mark Anscombe’s squad throughout this season.
In a further boost for the current RaboDirect PRO12 leaders, former Ulster players James McKinney and David McIlwaine have agreed contracts to return to the province.
Former Ireland Under-20 out-half McKinney has spent this season playing for Rotherham Titans in the English Championship. He has signed a one-year deal with Ulster.
McIlwaine, who is 23, has also signed a one-year contract with the province. He can play at full-back or on the wing and has spent this season at Bristol having played at Doncaster Knights the year before.
Commenting on the contract announcements, Ulster’s director of rugby David Humphreys said: “Paddy Wallace has unrivalled experience and knowledge of the game. It was important for us to keep him, not just for his playing ability, but also for the significant role that he fulfils in mentoring the young players that we have coming through.
“Mike has shown a remarkable level of consistency this season and James and David will come back to us having benefitted considerably from their time in England.
“It is now more important than ever to have a strong panel of players to be able to compete in both the league and Europe. These four players will add considerably to our strength in depth for next season.”