11 senior irish rugby players are out of contract with the IRFU at the end of the current season. Another — Stephen Ferris — is signed up with Ulster and Ireland until the end of this year as he strives for a successful injury comeback.
Several players have been linked with moves to Top 14 clubs such as Racing Métro, Clermont Auvergne and Stade Francais. Speaking to TheScore.ie earlier this week, Rob Kearney [contracted with Leinster and Ireland until June 2015] admitted to the obvious, monetary temptation of upping sticks to France.
He said, “If you want to look after your body and prolong your career, more often than not staying in Ireland is the best thing for you. If you want to make a few extra quid – which is important too, because it’s a short career – then maybe a move to France has the best options.”
The IRFU, when contacted about players in the final year of their current deals, told us that all contract negotiations are confidential. Here are players who are out of contract next June:
The 85-times capped lock has admitted he would like to play or coach in France. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Jamie Heaslip and Conor Murray
Heaslip has been linked to a Clermont move while Murray insists he is concentrating on his rugby, despite reports of Racing Métro interest. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
‘You have to look after yourself, your own well being, and everything else on top of that,’ said the Leinster back-row earlier this year. INPHO/Ryan Byrne
The winger’s contract talks have been put back to early next year but would favour a contract extension with Munster.
YouTube credit: RaboDirect PRO12
The Munster second-row misses out on the November Tests with injury. He recently took in Perpignan’s home game with Bordeaux. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ulster have recently announced contract extensions for Chris Henry, Paul Marshall and Ruan Pienaar but the hooker’s deal remains a work in progress. INPHO/Morgan Treacy
The ‘one more year’ chants worked on the 125-times capped outside centre last season but he insists 2013/14 will be his swansong.
YouTube credit: LasGarzas11
A new contract with Ulster and Ireland would mean as much to the Australian-born prop as this jersey he wore as a British & Irish Lion on their summer tour. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Speaking on Second Captains this week, former Ireland winger Shane Horgan said Moore [currently uncapped] is exactly the type of promising player the IRFU should sign up to four-year deals. INPHO/James Crombie
Connacht have several players out of contract at the end of this season, chief of whom is talented back-row Willie Faloon. The province is also mulling new deals for its joint captaincy trio of John Muldoon, Michael Swift and Gavin Duffy.
*Here’s one that Munster have locked into a new deal
The Irish Times are reporting today that Donncha O’Callaghan has signed a two-year provincial deal with Munster. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
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