London - New Zealand-born hooker Tom McCartney has taken another step towards representing Ireland at Test level after Connacht announced he has signed a new three-year deal on Monday.
McCartney, 31, will qualify to play for Ireland on residency grounds in November 2017.
"I'm delighted to sign on for another three years with Connacht Rugby," McCartney said in a press release.
"I came here excited to be able to help the province achieve its vision of success and I believe we have the structures in place to see us continue to go from strength to strength."
McCartney joined Connacht from Auckland Blues in 2014 and played a key role in last season's Celtic League title triumph.
He and fellow New Zealand-born Connacht player Bundee Aki are expected to bolster Ireland's ranks once they qualify to switch nationalities next year.
"This is a hugely positive move for Connacht Rugby and a big statement from Tom highlighting the belief and confidence he has in the future of the club," said Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane.
"He is an important member of the squad and very popular among our supporters. We are thrilled that he sees his future with Connacht."