Sunday 16 June 2019

'The offer is well below where it needs to be' - Rob Kearney weighs up France move as contract talks stall

 

Leinster's Rob Kearney. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Rob Kearney. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Rob Kearney is seriously considering offers to play club rugby in France as contract talks with the IRFU continue to stall.

The Irish and Leinster full-back, 33, is contracted until the end of the World Cup but given his age profile and his current status as one of their highest-paid players, the IRFU are keen to substantially reduce his salary.

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Kearney is believed to be earning around €450,000 on his current deal but the IRFU are reluctant to commit to a similar arrangement and that has led the player to explore other avenues.

Leinster may also be unable to commit themselves to a significant salary to retain their long-serving player, particularly if the IRFU and Kearney cannot come to an agreement.

It had been hoped that Kearney's contract talks would have been finalised in conjunction with the announcement yesterday that Cian Healy has extended his deal with the IRFU for another two years.

However, Kearney's name was a notable omission from the list of 21 Leinster players whose contracts were confirmed yesterday.

"We had hoped to have reached a conclusion by now," said Kearney's manager Dave McHugh.

"The discussion is live and open. But, it has led us to check other options.

"The IRFU has made Rob an offer. But, if I am honest, it is well below where it needs to be - well below.

"It has been a little protracted. We are struggling to get it to a point where it makes sense for him."

Healy's deal will take him up until the end of the 2020/'21 season.

Cian Kelleher, meanwhile, returns to Leinster after three seasons with Connacht.

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