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Published: 11:39 | 24/5/16

McCloskey agrees Ulster extension

Stuart McCloskey has signed a new contract that will keep him at Ulster until the summer of 2019.

A graduate of the Hughes Insurance Academy, McCloskey made his Ulster debut in the PRO12 game against the Newport Gwent Dragons in February 2014 and has so far made 48 appearances for the province.

Four of his eight tries have come this season and his impressive form saw him called into the Ireland squad for the 2016 RBS Six Nations Championship - he made his international debut against England.

Although he had a year to run on his previous contract, the 23-year-old has agreed a deal to remain at the Kingspan Stadium until 2019.

"I grew up here in Ulster and it was always a dream to pull on the jersey. Despite some strong interest from other clubs, it was a fairly straightforward decision since all of my family and friends are here. The supporters, the facilities that we have and the quality of the coaching were all factors in my decision," McCloskey said.

"We are developing strength in depth across the board and that will make us even more competitive next year. It's good for me to have some really strong competition for places in midfield because we push each other to improve.

"We had a disappointing finish to the season but I believe things are promising for the future and I'm excited to be part of that.”

Director of Rugby, Les Kiss added: "This is fantastic news for the club as Stuart has been one of our standout performers all season. A major strength of Stuart's is his gain-line busting runs, which we have used to great effect this season. In addition to his powerful carrying ability, his deft handling and decoy lines have also caused havoc for defences.

"Stuart's appetite to work with the coaches here to accelerate his development has resulted in a well-deserved first cap for Ireland. He is a major asset to Ulster Rugby and will continue to be so for years to come.”

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