Connacht Rugby’s captain Gavin Duffy has penned a contract extension to stay at the Sportsground until at least 2014.
Fullback Duffy, who hails from Ballina in Co. Mayo, led Connacht to victory against Treviso at the start of the season and it has been an historic couple of months since then. First up was dealing with a newly refurbished stadium and the crowds the Sportsground attracted, then there was Connacht's first ever Heineken Cup campaign, beating Harlequins, taking on the mighty Toulouse and pushing Gloucester right to the wire, twice. Agonisingly close games against the Ospreys, Cardiff, Leinster and Munster and moral boosting victories over Edinburgh, the Scarlets and a double over the Dragons means this season has had it all and 30 year old Duffy has been leading his men through thick and thin.
With the experience of four years at Harlequins, ten Ireland caps and over 100 appearances for Connacht to call on Gavin's leadership has been evident in the manner in which Connacht reacted to a series of close losses earlier in the season, pulling out all the stops and beating Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins before toppling Edinburgh, drawing with play-off hopefuls Glasgow and thumping the Dragons in their own back-yard.
Committing his future to his home province Gavin said:
Staying with Connacht means a huge amount to me, as a team we have become a really tight knit group this season and that is only going to get better next season as we add even more quality to the side. Staying at the Sportsground, and the security a two year deal brings, means I can concentrate on my own game, getting the best out of the people around me and driving Connacht forward."
"Staying in Ireland also means that I'm still available for national selection and winning more Irish caps is always a goal of mine."
"Brining up a young family in Galway is great and my wife and five month old daughter are very happy here so I'm delighted to be able to commit to Connacht for the next two seasons."
Speaking about the signing Head Coach Eric Elwood said:
"I'm delighted that Gavin is here to stay. We all know he's very proud of where he comes from and it was a great honour for him to lead his team this year in our first ever Heineken Cup. We've enjoyed the highs and lows of this season and we're looking to finish on an up and getting news like this is great for the squad going forward into next year."