Snubbed french clubs won't get fooled again
NOW that Jamie Heaslip has put pen to paper on another three years with Leinster, could you honestly blame Top 14 clubs taking a jaundiced view of Irish players' agents tossing covetous eyes in their direction?
Jonathan Sexton apart, all French efforts to recruit Ireland players have now come to nought, no doubt triggering a suspicion that they have been used simply as bargaining tools in an increasingly pinched market.
The IRFU deserve credit for their negotiation skills, given the clear financial imbalance between contracts available in Ireland and in France. Keeping the best players at home is clearly the preferable option for Irish rugby.
Next season, 10 full Welsh internationals will play in the Top 14. Sexton, alone, will be Ireland's representative. This says a great deal about the disparate health of the professional game in these two countries.
But it also tells you that, next time a slew of Irish contracts come up for re-negotiation, the Mourad Boudjellals of this world are unlikely to be taking calls.