Iain Henderson has signed a new deal with the IRFU which will keep the forward at Ulster until at least the summer of 2023.
At a press conference on Wednesday ahead of Ireland's Six Nations game against Italy at the weekend, the 29-year-old clarified that his contract will run out five weeks before the next World Cup.
"I would like to hope that I would be extending anyway," he replied when asked if an extension would be required should he be part of the Ireland squad for the tournament.
Due to Covid-19, there have been delays to the signing of new contracts for many Irish players. Some are yet to pen new deals with their currents contracts running out this summer.
"Look, it has been a long process and I'm delighted to get to the end of it," said Henderson.
"I'm looking forward to having that put to bed now. I don't have to worry about that, maybe a week or so [ago] I was kind of able to check that box off my list.
"I'm delighted to be able to finally announce that we are back on for another two years.
"I'm looking forward to it and everything that could entail, be that down here or be that back up at home.
"I would say the initial period was probably more stressful. Speaking generally as the wider group, contract negotiations were maybe later than we would have initially anticipated or the way they would be in a usual year.
"That was probably something that anyone in any profession would find stressful, pushing out their security going forward.
"When they got underway, the discussions that we had with my agent and David Nucifora and other members of his team, they weren't painful at all.
"They were understanding and I think from both sides of the table, we knew where we had to get to, and it didn't think anywhere near as long as probably I thought it would."
Asked about interest from clubs abroad, Henderson replied, "I have only ever had eyes for Ireland".
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