Huge financial incentive for Joe Schmidt's Ireland to beat England and win Grand Slam
Grand slam success would mean a big payday for the IRFU and Ireland's Six Nations champions.
Joe Schmidt's side secured the trophy thanks to their 28-8 win over Scotland and England's failure to earn a bonus point win against France in Paris and are now just 80 minutes away from following the 1948 and 2009 teams into the history books as Grand Slam winners.
A St Patrick's Day showdown against England awaits and as well as the lure of entering the pantheon of greats, there are financial rewards at play for a group of players who have now gone 11 games unbeaten - a run that started when they denied England the Grand Slam in Dublin a year ago.
The team's success has earned the union €5m in prize-money, while a win over England would net them a further €1.2m to boost the coffers at Lansdowne Road.
And the players will see some of that windfall with an reported €70,000 bonus on offer for a Grand Slam success.
Although each player has his own incentive scheme worked into their provincial and international contracts, Rugby Players Ireland negotiate bonuses collectively.
Meanwhile, Ireland's scrum coach Greg Feek is attracting interest from Japan. The highly rated All Black has been a coach here for eight seasons since joining Leinster in 2010 and has helped produce a formidable Irish set-piece that has played a big role in this year's success.
There may be scope for Feek to remain involved with Ireland while taking up a position with a Japanese club despite Ireland facing the Brave Blossoms in their 2019 World Cup pool.
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