Monday 19 March 2018

Moore's Wasps offer has put sting in tale for IRFU

Marty Moore is set to follow Ian Madigan out of Leinster, though England will be his destination: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Marty Moore is set to follow Ian Madigan out of Leinster, though England will be his destination: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

At this rate, David Nucifora will start getting the blame for the Cork-Limerick road.

When the Australian answered the "smart boy wanted" poster draped in the IRFU's Dublin 4 bay window, he hardly realised he would be held accountable for everything from Munster's "twin city" policy to the strength of sterling.

Marty Moore's imminent departure is setting supporters' hearts aflutter once more.

It is just the latest in a long line of indicators that the financial muscle of the northern hemisphere game remains rooted beyond these shores and, as a glance at events down south reminded the sport this week, Ireland simply cannot compete.

Despite the fact that he has never started a match for Ireland and has a had a pretty tough 18 months at the mercy of a variety of surgical procedures, Moore may stand to earn at least €30,000 more annually should he accept a three-year deal at Wasps, rather than Leinster's two-year offer.

It is not believed the IRFU are yet involved in bidding or the offering of a contract.

With Nucifora believed to be rubber-stamping every cent that is being spent on players, it will be up to him to decide whether it is worth shelling out what may seem - to Leinster fans at least - the relatively small premium to keep Moore in this country.


As usual, in a land where nightly novenas were once held to prolong the good health of John Hayes, Ireland's tighthead linchpin for the first decade of the 21st century until Mike Ross was belatedly discovered just before his 30th birthday, context is everything.

Ross seems likely to be awarded a one-year extension which will take him beyond the age of 37 and, with Michael Bent also being granted a two-year deal, there are clear signs that accommodation is already being made for life without Moore on Leinster's books.

Having four Irish international tightheads at the one province makes little or no sense.

And, it shouldn't be forgotten, World Cup bolter Tadhg Furlong had long been earmarked as the coming thing and at the start of this season, Leo Cullen would have identified him as his primary back-up to Ross.

But then what if Furlong's injury problems recur? Can Leinster rely on another graduate from the Academy seamlessly coming on stream (although Royce Burke-Flynn has garnered positive reviews).

But that is all for the future. Life is what happens when you're busy making succession plans. And Ireland's could thin if Moore leaves.

With BJ Botha likely to up sticks for a big money move to the Premiership - along with loosehead club colleague James Cronin - Munster will have a vacancy that will need filling sooner rather than later.

It is quite clear that neither they nor Moore have ever decided, or even contemplated, that such a marriage might exist. Nucifora may have to when this one lands on his desk.

Rodney Ah You, whose international career remains a dubious distinction in the eyes of many observers, is off to Ulster - again, Munster seem not to have been an option - where Wiehann Herbst, the latest Springbok import, prepares to declare an oath of Irish allegiance from 2017.

If Moore did decide to leave, his international career would inevitably go into cold storage - hence Ireland may still have Nathan White, 35, Mike Ross, 36, as their spearheads as they plot their path in next season's Six Nations.

Moore's mind appears to be made up unless the IRFU decide to pitch in with an improved offer - but will the estimated difference between €50k p.a. for two years and £60k for three be enough to make them think again?

And is Moore ready to risk the fact that they might not think again and therefore wave farewell to his Ireland career for the next three seasons?

What may be more relevant is the difference between the expense the IRFU places upon short-term pain in order to achieve the value of long-term gain.

It's a delicate balance and one they need to get right.

Irish Independent

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