Contract-shaped Confetti

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
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  1. Amiga500

     /  May 1, 2012

    No word on Luke Fitz?

  2. rugbykino

     /  May 1, 2012

    Fitzgerald is on track to sign within the next fortnight by all accounts.
    And the D4 equivalent of ‘ligind’ is ‘ledge-bag’, or ‘totes ledge-bag’ if their legendary qualities are to be emphasised.

  3. Stevo

     /  May 1, 2012

    So the two men affected by the new NIE rules have received one year extensions, bringing them up to the date the rules come into effect. I assume this is also the case with Ulster and Munster. Looks like when the time comes the IRFU will put the names into a hat and have a big draw to decide who stays on and who’s given taxi-fare to the airport.

    • I suspect it might come down to who is keeping out an Irish player.

      To take the loose-head example, VDM is behind Healy in the pecking order, whereas du Preez is keeping an Irish player (admittedly, Marcus Horan) out of the team. On that logic, VDM gets it. Having said that, Horan could have bitten the bullet by then.

      At the same time it will be Nacewa vs Howlett, and it could be argued both are keeping Irish players (say Little Bob and Luke O’Dea) out of the team.

      Actually, the political divvy-up is probably the most likely option!

      • Amiga500

         /  May 1, 2012

        It’ll probably end up in a compromise – any players that have been at their provinces for a good number of years (Howlett, Nacewa, Muller to name three) can see out their careers as the provinces see fit…

        But there will be no new players registered outside of the NIE rules.

      • Stevo

         /  May 2, 2012

        That’s interesting, I’d always thought it would be based on necessity rather than anything else. Clearly Munster need Du Preez more than Leinster need VDM, given the respective alternatives, so Du Preez gets the nod.

        When it comes down to Howlett vs Nacewa I’d like to think that Nacewa would get it based on the fact that he’ll be 30 whereas Howlett will be 34, but there are other factors. Given the foreigners-are-bad-for-Irish-rugby kind of thinking (or non-thinking) which seems to have inspired the new rules, favour may be shown towards a player who’s got a couple of years left at most compared to one who could be there in 5 years time. Nacewa may also be seen as a more serious obstruction, given Kearney Jr has already sat on the bench for Ireland. Another factor not to be discounted is just how highly Dougie is rated in Munster not just for his performances on the pitch but his contribution off it. They may be intent on bringing him into the coaching set-up when he hangs up his boots and that might be difficult if next summer his options are retirement or a move elsewhere to get a last pay cheque. That’s speculation, I know, but not that far-fetched.

        In the end, as you say, it will probably all come down to politics.

  4. toro toro

     /  May 1, 2012

    Nacewa’s is an extension to the existing contract; he’s being brought up to 2014, a year *after* the new rules come in.

    “Evil Bank” – have the Whiffies been stealing a look at the Fiver style sheet?

  5. P White

     /  May 3, 2012

    Michael Bent is the short price favorite to be Leinsters annual complete waste of space signing (Juan Gomez, Sykes, Ed O’Donoghue, Eddie Hekenui amongst previous winners) but has anyone seen Tom Denton play? I don;t get to watch much English domestic rubbish from Melbourne.

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