Irish lock Dan Tuohy has agreed an Ulster contract extension, committing himself to the province until June 2015.
Ulster’s faith in him will have softened the blow of not making the match-day 23 for tomorrow’s Ireland v South Africa test at the Aviva Stadium.
Tuohy, 27 — capped at Under-21 level before joining Ulster from Exeter Chiefs — cited his ambition to play Heineken Cup rugby and gain full international honours as his primary reasons for enlisting in the summer of 2009.
In little over three seasons he has done both, making five Irish appearances to date — scoring in his debut against the All Blacks — as well as playing in last season’s European Cup final.
Even after an impressive 74 Ulster appearances, Tuohy said he has “unfinished business”.
His partnership alongside captain Johann Muller — a key feature of Ulster’s progress — prompted Tuohy to say: “I came over here four years ago and settled immediately. I feel very comfortable here and it’s like a home from home for me.
“Ulster have looked after me really well and I’m delighted to be staying on. The club have made a dramatic transformation in the short time that I’ve been here and it’s fantastic to be part of.
“We did well last year in the Heineken Cup and are hoping to go one better this season. We also realise how important the PRO12 is and we are determined to be successful in it, too.
“It’s something I really want to be part of.”