“For a player of his quality going to the market, it definitely wasn’t the right time.”
Bernard Jackman believes Tadhg Furlong signed a one-year contract extension with Leinster and the IRFU as the Wexford man wants to survey the market at the end of next season.
The Leinster and Ireland prop revealed that a one-year contract suited him best during the week, while also confirming that he was offered a longer contract to stay with his native province.
Former Ireland hooker Jackman was speaking on the RTE Rugby podcast and believes that the Lions prop will wait until after the pandemic to sign a long-term contract as budgets in the sport have been drastically affected.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) May 10, 2021
Bernard Jackman on Tadhg Furlong.
“Ideally, the IRFU would have tied him down for three or four years. For a player of his quality going to the market, it definitely wasn’t the right time,” Jackman said.
“You’d imagine he feels the contract he was offered by the IRFU wasn’t large enough to tie himself down long term. From our point of view, at least we keep him in Ireland, so that’s the positive.
“From Furlong’s point of view, he will see how the economic climate in Irish rugby is in a year’s time, but also, more than likely, the budget of the top English and French clubs will be higher and he will have more bargaining power.”
Furlong’s long-term future remains up in the air.
Furlong is one of Ireland’s most crucial players at the moment, and while there is a more than capable replacement in Andrew Porter, the IRFU will be desperate to keep the Wexford man playing his rugby in Ireland.
The 28-year-old is arguable the most highly-rated tighthead prop in the world, and would be able to attract massive offers from the financial powerhouses in England and France.
While only players who play their rugby in Ireland are currently eligible for selection for the national team, the IRFU may relax that rule for Furlong if he is to play abroad, as they did with Johnny Sexton when he joined Racing 92.