By Cormac McGinn
The IRFU have announced that Rory Best and Rob Kearney will sign contract extensions that will keep both players until the end of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Being Ireland's third most capped player, with 111 caps, Best took over captaincy ahead of the 2016 Six Nations.
Breaking News: @RoryBest2 signs IRFU contract extension to the end of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 20, 2018
He has captained Ireland to a 1st win over the Springboks in South Africa, a 1st win against New Zealand and to the Grand Slam on Saturday.#ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/1MT5tSeDfn
Under his leadership, Ireland managed to beat the Springboks in South Africa as well as beating New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016.
At the weekend, Best won his fourth Six Nations and second Grand Slam title with Ireland, having played in the successful 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018 campaigns.
Making his debut in 2007, Rob Kearney has scored 13 tries and a conversion in 83 international caps for Ireland.
News: @KearneyRob signs IRFU contract extension to November 2019.— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 20, 2018
He started in every game of the 2009, 2014, 2015 & 2018 Championship wins and Ireland's win over New Zealand.#TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/jiXSDsRL6G
Having started every game of the 2014 and 2015 championship, as well as the 2009 and 2018 grand slam seasons, injury denied him the chance to tour in 2016, but he returned in November of the same year to beat the All Blacks at Soldier Field.
Kearney made his senior debut in 2005 for Leinster and since then, has made 223 points in 193 apperances.
IRFU director, David Nucifora spoke about the importance of the two players and how they effect Irish rugby.
Regarding Rob Kearney, Nucifora said, "he is a leader and a fantastic example to young professionals at Leinster and with the national squad."
When asked about Rory Best, Nucifora commented, "Rory has been an outstanding leader for Ireland and continues to produce stand-out performances at the highest level of the game."