Irish rugby is currently enjoying a wave of positivity following two impressive displays against the mighty All Blacks this month and now things could get even better for one province.
While in Dublin for Saturday’s enthralling encounter with Ireland, it has been reported by the Irish Independent that New Zealand superstar Israel Dagg met with Leinster officials for talks about a potential move to Dublin next year.
Such an acquisition would be a massive coup for the province and the Pro 12 league as Dagg is considered one of the world’s top rugby stars. Things are far from guaranteed for the Dublin based provincial outfit, however, as the 28-year-old is also the focus of keen interest from a number of France’s Top 14 sides, including the cash rich Toulon.
Able to command top-end wages, Dagg will be out of reach of many suitors in the northern hemisphere. Leinster will like be in a position to afford the winger however, as the retirement and Luke Fitzgerald and possible departure of Zane Kirchner at the end of the season will see a large pot of money become available.
Even if the All Blacks speed merchant does choose Dublin over France, a deal is dependent upon IFRU approval. The union’s performance director David Nucifora must give the green light to a deal, something he has failed to do in recent months.
In a bid to promote Irish talent, Nucifora failed to approve Munster’s bid for Australia captain Stephen Moore last season and then this term, he blocked the extension of Ruan Pienaar’s contract with Ulster.
A deal with Dagg must therefore negotiate significant hurdles before fans can celebrate and with interest in the star likely to be huge, a decision from the IRFU and Nucifora must be swift.
Watch this space.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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