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Alan Quinlan | Stuart Lancaste...
Rugby

Alan Quinlan | Stuart Lancaster contract just one of many IRFU headaches

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

11:14 11 Jan 2021

Alan Quinlan joined Ger and Eoin on this Monday's OTB AM to discuss the weekend's interprovincial action, as well as the decisions facing the IRFU, with contract-season in full swing.

Negotiations with players and management had been put on hold until this month due to the financial uncertainty presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, with Ireland captain Johnny Sexton among a number of key front-line internationals who are heading into the final months of their respective deals.

Coaching staff have also been unable to discuss new contracts until this month, with Leinster head coach Leo Cullen and senior coach Stuart Lancaster's current deals expiring in the summer.

Lancaster's name has been mentioned as a potential candidate to take the vacant job at the Sale Sharks, following Steve Diamond's surprise departure last month. Quinlan says it's inevitable that the highly-rated former England boss will someday leave the Irish province, and that Lancaster's situation is one of many being faced by the union this month.

"It's going to happen some day that he departs and takes a head coach job. He commutes over, his family is in the UK, and if you're trying to run a business, you can't over commit.

"Given all the players contracts, there's a load of players out of contract, and their agents will be banging on the door trying to get these contracts sorted," Quinlan says.

Quinny added that the financial issues faced by the IRFU mean that if they have to break the bank to keep Lancaster at Leinster, it could mean losing players to clubs abroad, which is something IRFU high performance director David Nucifora needs to weigh up.

"Is he going to be given the power or the go-ahead to put this money on the table - given the uncertainty that's there in the future? No crowds (at matches) will cost the IRFU a lot of money, coaches contracts are the same as player contracts, you've got to find the money. That's why these contracts have been put back to January.

"The IRFU always want to get these contacts done before December, to stop the uncertainty going into the last couple of months. They're now in the position where we might lose some high profile players if they got offers in France or the UK. A fair bit of uncertainty around the contract situation, and that's the same for Stuart Lancaster.

"I'm sure Mick Dawson and Leo Cullen would love to keep him and get it sorted quickly, but ultimately it's money that comes out of the IRFU budget that's given to Leinster, or else they can finance it and top it up themselves through their own sponsors or partners. I'm sure that that uncertainty going into the last few months isn't ideal for them," he added.

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Alan Quinlan CJ Stander Johnny Sexton Leinster Rugby Otb Am Stuart Lancaster

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