Ireland go extra Furlong as stars sign new contracts


Dublin (AFP)

Tadhg Furlong and Peter O'Mahony signed three-year contracts with the Irish Rugby Football Union on Friday, delivering a boost to both Ireland and their provinces Leinster and Munster respectively.

Both were on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand earlier this year with differing fortunes as prop Furlong established himself as one of the stars whilst flanker O'Mahony captained the Lions in the first Test -- instead of Sam Warburton -- but was dropped afterwards.

Furlong, 25, made his Test debut in 2015 and IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora said the prop had made extraordinary progress in the 18 months he has been part of the Irish set-up.

"As a young prop still learning his trade Tadhg has shown enormous growth over the past 18 months," said Nucifora.

"He learned a lot from his experience at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has kicked on since that tournament to produce consistently impressive performances for Ireland, Leinster and the Lions."

O'Mahony for his part bounced back after the disappointment of being dropped by the Lions for the remaining two Tests in a series they drew 1-1 with some sterling performances for the Irish in their November wins over South Africa and Argentina.

"I am absolutely delighted to commit my future to Munster and Ireland for the next three years," the 42-times capped O'Mahony said.

"I'm very proud of where I am from and I am really excited about what we are building down in Munster right now.

"Playing for my country is something I dreamed of growing up as a boy, so I cherish each occasion I am lucky enough to take to the field in an Irish jersey," added the 28-year-old.