Sport Rugby

Sunday 24 September 2017

Contract talks have dragged out longer than I wanted -- Heaslip

Leinster's Jamie Heaslip arrives for squad training
Leinster's Jamie Heaslip arrives for squad training
David Kelly

David Kelly

Jamie Heaslip has issued a thinly veiled swipe at the IRFU for the delay in concluding negotiations on a new contract.

And he has also said that "people aren't aware" of issues that have led to many Irish rugby supporters becoming increasingly disenchanted with the ongoing contract sagas.

"There's a business side to the game that sometimes people aren't aware of," Heaslip told an IRFU promotional video which may serve to overshadow today's Six Nations launch in London.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was anxious to conclude a deal before today's launch, but both the IRFU and Heaslip were still racing against time to conclude the final terms of a contract last night.

ONGOING

"There's been a lot of talk about players' contracts," added Heaslip. "Unfortunately it's dragged out much longer than I wanted. It seems to be ongoing.

"It hasn't been a distraction for me, that's why I have an agent to deal with that. I just play rugby and that's what I've been doing. He can do his job and I'll do mine."

Keith Earls became the latest player to commit his future to the IRFU, signing fresh terms that will see him stay with Munster until 2016.

However, he is sweating on his Six Nations involvement as he awaits a meeting with a specialist today to examine the full extent of the knee ligament injury sustained on Munster duty last weekend.

Ulster star Ruan Pienaar heads a strong provincial contingent on the initial long list to claim the ERC's European Player of the Year award.

Munster duo Paul O'Connell and Peter O'Mahony join Leinster front-row pair Sean Cronin and Cian Healy on the 15-man list.

Meanwhile, hopes have been further raised about the future involvement of English and Welsh teams in an ongoing Heineken Cup.

Following on from constructive talks between English and French officials in Heathrow on Monday, the Six Nations council met yesterday to assess the current impasse.

Irish Independent

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