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Stuart McCloskey targets trophies after signing new Ulster deal

By Frank Brownlow

Published 25/05/2016

Star quality: Stuart McCloskey has extended his Ulster contract
Star quality: Stuart McCloskey has extended his Ulster contract

Stuart McCloskey has underlined his desire to win silverware after being rewarded for his outstanding season for Ulster with a contract extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until the summer of 2019.

McCloskey was named Ulster Rugby Player of the Year after weighing in with four tries in 23 games, bagging man of the match awards in both the Guinness PRO12 and European Champions Cup.

The 23-year-old's fine form was recognised with a call up to the Ireland squad for the RBS Six Nations, making his international debut against England at Twickenham in February.

The Hughes Insurance Academy graduate was handed the new deal despite still having a year remaining on his previous contract.

"I grew up here in Ulster and it was always a dream to pull on the jersey," said McCloskey.

"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.

"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."

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss is delighted that the former Bangor Grammar School pupil has extended his contract.

"This is fantastic news for the club as Stuart has been one of our standout performers all season," he said.

"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."

McCloskey made his Ulster debut back in February 2014 as a replacement in the PRO12 fixture against Dragons. He has accumulated 42 appearances for the province, scoring eight tries.

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