Ulster extend contracts of James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Sean Reffell

Three-year deals will keep the three 25-year-olds at the province until 2027 at the earliest

Ulster have extended the contracts of James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Sean Reffell, the province announced on Wednesday.

O’Toole, who is currently in the Ireland Six Nations camp, has put pen to paper on a three-year deal that will keep him in Belfast until 2027. There had been reports that the Co Louth man was the subject of interest from his native province Leinster, but it is understood that this never materialised into a formal offer.

The 25-year-old tighthead prop, who moved to Australia at a young age before attending Campbell College as a teenager, has been at Ulster since joining their academy in 2017.

O’Toole is currently fighting for a spot backing up Tadhg Furlong with Finlay Bealham and Oli Jager also in contention ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham. It is understood that a potential positional shift to loosehead prop has been discussed but is not immediately on the cards.


Ireland have less depth on that side of the scrum with 36-year-old Cian Healy currently the second choice loosehead behind Andrew Porter. Ulster, however, have marquee signing Steven Kitshoff as their first-choice loosehead, with the South African World Cup-winner signed on until 2026.

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Meanwhile, outside centre Hume has also agreed a new three-year deal having captained the province for the first time during last weekend’s victory over the Dragons. The 25-year-old, who has three Ireland caps, has been at Ulster since making his senior debut in 2018.

Backrow Reffell has also extended his stay having joined Ulster in 2022. Injuries limited the 25-year-old to just three games in his first campaign, but this season he has been more of a regular feature, his high workload in defence often impressing.

Ulster are next in action on March 23rd when they travel to Durban to take on the Sharks in the URC. This will be the first game for new interim head coach Richie Murphy, who takes over after the U20 Six Nations after Ulster parted ways with Dan McFarland.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist