There were a few new contracts announced at Leinster yesterday – 20 to be precise. The headline one was the IRFU stumping up for another 2 years for Dorce. While not in the Leamy-esque generosity category, after the Six Nations it was hard to imagine that D’Arcy will be in the national team for the 2014 Six Nations.
Still, the old warrior has upped his game since getting back to Leinster, and his tackle on Wesley Fofana on Sunday was essentially the winning of the game. But can you really see him in front of Fergus McFadden in 2 years? And what about Nevin Spence? ‘kind of like the Stakhanov thanks-for-the-memories contract from Deccie.
More important for Leinster’s long-term squad building was the 3 years given to Kevin McLaughlin. It wasn’t that long ago that Locky was intern-ing in Evil Bank with one of Egg’s mates for a summer with a view to leaving professional rugger behind. Since then, he’s had 3 great seasons with Leinster, made a few appearances for Ireland, become one of Europe’s premier defensive lineout operators at HEC level, and positioned himself as future Leinster captain (albeit potentially only at Rabo level) and one of the squad supremos. Its a well-warranted extension, and Locky is on course to become whatever a ligind is called in a D4 accent.
Staying in the back-row, Rhys Ruddock and Leo Avua’a get another 2 years each. Leinster are building serious depth in that line - besides the 3 mentioned here they have Heaslip, O’Brien, Dom Ryan and Shane Jennings – they certainly wouldn’t need to turn to Willie Falloon in the event of one injury. You’d have to suspect Munster offered Ruddock quite a few quid and possibly a 2000 jersey autographed by Gaillimh to make the switch, so its a bit of a coup for Leinster have managed to tie him down – he’d be a good fit in Thomond and isn’t threatening the Leinster HEC team right now.
In backs-news, Ian Madigan got a well-deserved 2-year extension after a stunning season culminating in an IRUPA Baby of the Year Award, in spite of being told by Hook, McGurk et al to just “go to Munster” for some first-team action. Team scrum-half have another 2 years each.
Further back again, Conway and Little Bob got 2 years each, which makes it a little surprising Fionn Carr has got another year as well – you’d have to think its last chance saloon for the blond bomber at the RDS. Isa Nacewa also got an extension of a year.
In other NIE-news, the IRFU have
laid down the law folded like a cheap suit – Heinke van der Merwe has got 1 more year. We think that when the new rules come into force, both Wian du Preez and VDM will be going to the same loose-head slot. Expect Farrelly to publish some puff-pieces about du Preez being so settled in Limerick he’s pretty much Willie O’Dea in about 11 months time.
Newly minted Irishmen have arrived in the shape of Michael Bent (prop, Kiwi) and Tom Denton (lock, English) from Wellington and Leeds respectively.
The full list:
- Leo Auva’a – 2 years
- Isaac Boss – 2 years
- Fionn Carr – 1 year
- Andrew Conway – 2 years
- John Cooney – 1 year
- Leo Cullen – 1 year
- Gordon D’Arcy – 2 years
- Aaron Dundon – 2 years
- Mark Flanagan – 1 year (Development)
- David Kearney – 2 years
- Brendan Macken – 1 year
- Ian Madigan – 2 years
- Kevin McLaughlin – 3 years
- Isa Nacewa – 1 year extension
- Eoin Reddan – 2 years
- Rhys Ruddock – 2 years
- Thomas Sexton – 1 year (Development)
- Heinke van der Merwe – 1 year
- Michael Bent – 2 years
- Tom Denton – 2 years