IRFU ‘very very close’ to Rob Kearney deal

The IRFU has hit back at suggestions made by Rob Kearney’s manager that there is a significant gulf between the two parties in ongoing contract negotiations.

Leinster and Ireland’s full-back, one of the most decorated players in Irish rugby history, will see his central IRFU contract expire at the end of this autumn’s Rugby World Cup. The 33-year-old has expressed a desire to see out his career in his home province but said last month that negotiations were progressing slowly.

A report on Wednesday quoting Kearney’s commercial manager Dave McHugh suggested there was a disparity between what the player wanted and what the IRFU was offering but the governing body’s Performance Director David Nucifora suggested yesterday the two sides were actually quite close to an agreement.

“We’re still talking with Rob,” Nucifora said.

I see there was a little flutter of interest yesterday but our conversations with Rob have been for quite a while, and we’d be more than happy for Rob to stay, but it’s along the same lines.

"He’s been a great contributor but we also have to look to the future as well, and where does that sit, and unfortunately in this business, things have a value as well.

“You’ve got to try and make those things align and if we can all agree on what that is and what the future looks like and what the values are then we usually come to a deal.” Yet the Australian took exception to McHugh’s comments, implying the Line Up Sports boss was not part of the current negotiations.

“I haven’t dealt with that fellow who was his agent, to be honest. I’ve never had a conversation with him so I don’t really know where he came from into it. I didn’t realise he was Rob’s agent.

“So the conversations I’ve had are pretty much on the same page and I’d suggest that we’re very very close and we’re sorting out a few things at the moment. So we’ll see where we get to but it’d be hopeful.”

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