IRFU announce new central contract model that will have big Leinster implications

New model.

The IRFU have announced some big changes to their central contract system that will have huge implications on Leinster Rugby, above all else.

From next season, the four Irish provinces are to contribute up to 30% of the cost of their players’ national contracts with the move agreed on following an external review overseen by a steering committee that consulted the provinces, Rugby Players Ireland, and the IRFU.

Leinster currently have nine players centrally contracted – Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier, Hugo Keenan, and Caelan Doris, with Jamison Gibson-Park set to bring that up to 10 next season.

Munster, Connacht, and Ulster have just one each, with Tadhg Beirne, Bundee Aki, and Iain Henderson on central deals respectively.

“A key focus of the review was to safeguard the success of the men’s national team, which generates more than 80% of IRFU annual revenues, whilst also ensuring the four provinces remain competitive,” said the IRFU.

“To support successful national and provincial teams, Irish rugby requires a strong pipeline of talent coming through the pathways of all provinces on a consistent basis.

“The IRFU remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that rugby in Ireland remains financially sustainable.

“Annual funding of approximately €40m will be provided by the IRFU to provinces on a more transparent and equitable basis, including new incentives based on future growth of income from EPCR and URC competitions plus a new matched funding programme to help drive fundraising efforts and additional investment in the domestic game.”

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