Seven Of Ireland’s Top Internationals Are Out Of Contract In A Few Months

Tick tock.

With clubs, organisations and unions still reeling from a disastrous 2020, contract negotiations for some top players have become a big issue.

We saw what happened at Leicester Tigers with big names like Manu Tuilagi and Telusa Veainu departing a few months back due to a dispute in wage cuts and we could very well see something similar happen with the provinces.

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As things stand Keith Earls, Jonathan Sexton, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, CJ Stander, Tadhg Furlong and Peter O’Mahony are all out of contract next summer, with the IRFU holding back on offering any deals until they have a better sense of their financial situation.

Head of performance David Nucifora made it clear this week that Ireland will continue to not select players who are plying their trade outside of the four provinces but given these uncertain times – some players might put their long-term future first if it doesn’t make sense financially for them to stick around.

Speaking to the Irish Times recently, top rugby agent Niall Woods said they have no idea what’s going on.

“We’re just six or seven months away and there’s no idea what’s going on,” Woods told The Irish Times.

“Clubs in the UK and France are doing a bit of recruitment, but the IRFU are still not letting provinces negotiate.

“Particularly older players, with a wife and kids, carrying more responsibility, need some order soon. It’s harder for them than the single men or youngsters coming up the ranks.

“By this time of the year I’d have about eight to 10 contracts complete, but I’ve none now.”

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks and months, that’s for sure.