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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Rob Kearney pleased with new and improved 'stress free' IRFU contract negotiations

The Leinster and Ireland fullback says he had no reason to want to leave and so sorted his contract with minimal fuss.

Prayers answered: Kearney's three-year-deal is signed, sealed and delivered.
Prayers answered: Kearney's three-year-deal is signed, sealed and delivered.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

ROB KEARNEY FEELS that the IRFU have learned lessons from their previous long, drawn-out player contract talks after he signed a new three-year deal with little or no fuss last week.

The Leinster and Ireland fullback, who doubles as the chairman of players’ union IRUPA,  has had a front row seat of the more protracted negotiations involving Jonathan Sexton and Jamie Heaslip in recent seasons.

In stark contrast to his team-mates, Kearney agreed the terms of his deal well in advance of Ireland’s showpiece international fixtures and went in to Saturday’s win over South Africa with no outside distractions.

Asked if he believed the Union had learned valuable lessons from past contract talks, Kearney agreed:

“I think they probably have. It’s great security for players going in to a November series knowing that your future is safe – never mind going into a Six Nations competition like was [the case] last year or a couple of years ago.”

He added: It was always a case of staying here. It was actually done maybe three or four weeks ago, it just wasn’t signed until last week. They thought the best time to announce it was this week, so it was all done very quickly and very stress free.”

With ominous clouds bearing down over Carton House, it’s clear that living and playing in France has obvious perks along with the downside of moving outside of the IRFU’s player management umbrella. Kearney, however, says he didn’t even come close to a position where he had to weigh up those factors.

I’ve no reason to leave. I’m part of two fantastic teams, I’m playing with all my friends and we’re still competing heavily in a lot of competitions so there was never a need for me to consider moving anywhere else.”

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Sean Farrell

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