Irish out-half McKinley extends contract with Italian club Treviso

FORMER LEINSTER OUT-half Ian McKinley has extended his contract with Italian Pro12 outfit Benetton Treviso into the 2017/18 season.

The 27-year-old was forced to retire from professional rugby in 2011 after losing the sight in his left eye following a training-ground accident.

McKinley in action against his native province, Leinster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

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McKinley, who had previously made six Leinster appearances and played for Ireland at U20 level, subsequently made a return to playing in Italy, wearing specially-designed rugby goggles to protect his working eye.

Having impressed for Serie C side Leonorso Udine in 2013/14 – initially moving to Italy to coach – McKinley then made the step up to the top-flight Campionato di Eccellenza league with Viadana and won a cap for the Barbarians in 2015.

He made three appearances during a brief stint with Pro12 side Zebre in the 2015/16 season, before joining Treviso at the start of the current campaign on an initial one-year deal.

Having impressed over the course of 21 appearances this season, including eight starts in the Pro12, Treviso have now opted to extend McKinley’s contract into the 2017/18 season.

“McKinley is a class player,” said Treviso director of sport Antonio Pavanello. “The eye injury slowed his career, but his force of will and his technical qualities soon brought him back to play at this level, which he had already done at the age of 20 with Leinster.”

Treviso also confirmed that Italy international scrum-half Tito Tebaldi has extended his contract into next season.

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