While central contracts for Cian Healy, Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Sexton have already been announced, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen confirmed today that an additional 18 contracts have been signed as the province continue to build for the 2019/20 season and beyond.
Cullen told the Leinster Rugby website: “It is a credit to the work that goes on in the schools and in the clubs that we are in a position to confirm 21 new contracts, with all but three coming through the system here.
“Over the last ten months or so we have been able to hand debuts to nine Academy players and they have deserved those opportunities. And now seven players that started this season in the Academy will start next season as senior players.
“I am delighted for them and indeed their families and congratulate them on their promotion. We have been very happy with what we have seen from them all in the GUINNESS PRO14 and in some cases in the Heineken Champions Cup, and we hope that they get many more chances in a Leinster jersey in the coming years.
“It is also exciting to welcome Cian Kelleher back to Leinster Rugby. We have always kept a close eye on his progress at Connacht and it’s great that we can now welcome him back to Leinster and we wish him well in what is already a very competitive position in the team.”
Full-back/winger Kelleher left the Leinster Academy in 2016 to join Connacht and has since scored 14 tries in 54 appearances. Prior to joining Connacht he had played seven times for Leinster, scoring one try against Zebre at the RDS. He made his Leinster debut against Edinburgh in the last game of the 2014/15 season.
Speaking about his move back to Dublin, the 24-year-old Kelleher said: “I’m incredibly excited to get back to my home province this summer and get started in an unbelievable set-up in Leinster.
“It was an opportunity too good to refuse when it came up and I can’t wait to get started and compete in an extremely competitive environment. I hope to add to the incredible success the province has had in the last couple of seasons.”
Cian will now join younger brother Ronan in the Leinster senior squad, with his younger sibling, a promising 21-year-old hooker, graduating from the Academy having made two appearances in the PRO14 this term.
Included in the list of 21 players are eight Ireland internationals with 294 caps between them and three British & Irish Lions.
LEINSTER NEW CONTRACTS FOR 2019/20 SEASON:
Bryan Byrne – 41 Leinster caps, 12 Leinster tries
Jack Conan – 14 Ireland caps, 88 Leinster caps, 21 Leinster tries
Max Deegan – 45 Leinster caps, 11 Leinster tries
Scott Fardy – 39 Australia caps, 43 Leinster caps, 9 Leinster tries
Ciaran Frawley – 14 Leinster caps, 1 Leinster try
Jamison Gibson-Park – 70 Leinster caps, 15 Leinster tries
Cian Healy – 2 British & Irish Lions caps, 88 Ireland caps, 207 Leinster caps, 22 Leinster tries
Robbie Henshaw – 4 British & Irish Lions caps, 37 Ireland caps, 36 Leinster caps, 7 Leinster tries
Dave Kearney – 17 Ireland caps, 136 Leinster caps, 29 Leinster tries
Hugo Keenan – 5 Leinster caps, 1 Leinster try
Cian Kelleher – 7 Leinster caps, 1 Leinster try
Ronan Kelleher – 2 Leinster caps
Dan Leavy – 11 Ireland caps, 63 Leinster caps, 16 Leinster tries
Fergus McFadden – 34 Ireland caps, 178 Leinster caps, 27 Leinster tries
Luke McGrath – 10 Ireland caps, 112 Leinster caps, 29 Leinster tries
Josh Murphy – 21 Leinster caps, 1 Leinster try
Conor O’Brien – 17 Leinster caps, 6 Leinster tries
Jimmy O’Brien – 7 Leinster caps, 3 Leinster tries
Hugh O’Sullivan – 14 Leinster caps
Scott Penny – 6 Leinster caps, 2 Leinster tries
Jonathan Sexton – 14 British & Irish Lions caps, 83 Ireland caps, 159 Leinster caps, 25 Leinster tries
LEINSTER ACADEMY PLAYERS PROMOTED TO SENIOR SQUAD:
LEINSTER’S DEPARTING PLAYERS:
Tom Daly – 12 Leinster caps, 2 Leinster tries
Mick Kearney – 51 Leinster caps, 1 Leinster try
Nick McCarthy – 35 Leinster caps, 4 Leinster tries
Jack McGrath – 7 British & Irish Lions caps, 54 Ireland caps, 145 Leinster caps, 12 Leinster tries
Ian Nagle – 19 Leinster caps
Sean O’Brien – 11 British & Irish Lions caps, 56 Ireland caps, 126 Leinster caps, 20 Leinster tries
Noel Reid – 1 Ireland cap, 121 Leinster caps, 17 Leinster tries