Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has signed a new deal to stay with Munster for at least another two years.
The Irish skipper will remain with his native province until the end of the 2014 season after signing a new contract with the IRFU.
O’Connell will lead Ireland into the forthcoming Six Nations in the absence of the injured Brian O’Driscoll.
The Heineken Cup winner is delighted to commit to the province he has served so well and to remain on home soil.
“I have been lucky over the last ten years to play with a team like Munster which has such phenomenal support and I have enjoyed a lot of success during that time,” said O’Connell.
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“So much has changed since my first games for Munster and Ireland, with Heineken Cup and Grand Slam wins, brand new stadiums and having the opportunity to play with so many good players, that it was always a very easy decision to remain in my home province.
“I am feeling really good both mentally and physically, which in part goes down to how well we are looked after here in Ireland, so I am looking forward to the remainder of this season and beyond and doing all I can to help make Munster and Ireland as successful as possible.”
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has welcomed O’Connell’s decision.
“It is a very strong message when you have a player of Paul’s standing opting to continue playing in Ireland with Munster,” said Kidney.
“Paul has been a very important player and leader for both Ireland and Munster during his career and I am especially pleased that he has come back so strongly after his injury troubles.”