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Schmidt to rule on retaining Willis

IT IS understood Leinster coach Joe Schmidt will make a decision in the next day or two over whether or not to offer scrum-half Cillian Willis an extension to his original short-term contract which ended nearly two weeks ago.

LEINSTER have three scrum-halves on their roster already with Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss returned from the World Cup and pre-season third-choice John Cooney on a Development contract.

Schmidt is a known admirer of Willis but he does not have much room for manoeuvre. The club budget has already been stretched by the number of players used in the RaboDirect PRO12 League while the Irish inter-nationals were away. There is simply not much money left in the kitty.

Thrived

On the other hand, Schmidt is just one injury to Reddan or Boss away from having to promote former Ireland U21 Cooney, who has started once and came on as a replacement twice in the first six league matches.

While Cooney is seen as the better long-term option, he has not proven he is ready for this level just yet. Willis has thrived on a nothing-to-lose approach from what was seen as his last chance as a stop-gap signing.

He has been a revelation for Leinster in his six appearances, culminating in a man-of-the-match display against Connacht in his last match under his previous contract last Saturday week.

Meanwhile, Leinster Rugby have announced that close to 35,000 tickets have been sold for Munster's league visit to the Aviva Stadium on Friday, November 4.