The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby announced on Friday 16th Dec 2011 that centre Paddy Wallace and prop Tom Court have each agreed new contracts to remain playing in Ireland.
Paddy Wallace has signed a one year deal which will see him contracted to the IRFU and Ulster Rugby until June 2013 while Tom Court has agreed a two year term which will see him wear Ulster colours until June 2014.
Both players were part of the Ireland Squad that reached the quarter-final stage of this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Paddy Wallace, currently the longest serving member of the Ulster squad made his debut against Swansea in August 2001. Educated at Campbell College Belfast, Paddy was part of Ireland’s U19 Rugby World Cup winning side in 1999 and represented Ireland at U21, A and Sevens level before winning his first senior cap when he came on a replacement against South Africa in November 2006. He was a member of Irish squad who won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.
Tom Court joined Ulster Rugby from Australia at the start of the 2006-07 season. Irish qualified through ancestry, he was one of the best shot-putters in Australia and was a late convert to rugby union, taking up the game at the University of Queensland. From there he was invited to join the Queensland Reds Rugby Academy and played for New Zealand Province Manawatu, before returning to Australia to feature in the Reds Super 14 squad. No sooner had he arrived in Belfast than he was taken to the USA and Canada as part of the Ireland A Churchill Cup Squad and having won his first full Irish cap in the 2009 Six Nations Championships he is now a regular member of Ireland’s match day squad.
“I’ve had a great run here so far and Belfast is very much home now for my young family, so I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with Ulster.” commented Court. “I think we’ve made some real progress over the past 2-3 seasons, the Ulster team is as tight as ever and it’s a brilliant boost for me to sign a new deal and ensure that I’m part of that set-up.”
“It’s great to get the contract agreed early, and to have the certainty about where I’m going to be for the foreseeable future. Now I can just concentrate on the rugby. Winning silverware with Ulster will be my main goal, and if things go well with Ulster then hopefully Ireland will fall into place.”