Gavin Cummiskey on rugby’s cartel; Man United great Tony Dunne dies aged 78

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

More Beautiful takes the opening race as live action returned at Naas on Monday. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho

More Beautiful takes the opening race as live action returned at Naas on Monday. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho

This morning Gavin Cummiskey has lamented rugby’s ‘cosy cartel’, and called for Irish players to support their peers in the Pacific Islands. He writes: “The current generation of Irish professionals are all about developing into leaders. They might feel inclined to influence the direction their industry is about to take.” However, with the coronavirus crisis putting a serious drain on the game’s finances across the globe, he suggests the frightening potential of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa will remain untapped. “All the wealthy rugby unions are in the red. Their planned recovery will probably destroy the slim chance of the Pacific Islands ever evolving into three freakishly talented squads that would radically enhance international competition.”

Meanwhile Manchester United great Tony Dunne has died aged 78. Dunne was a key part of Matt Busby’s 1968 European Cup winning side, who famously became the first English team to win the competition after defeating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley. Dunne, who earned 33 caps for the Republic of Ireland, joined United from Shelbourne in 1960 and went on to make 535 appearances during 13 years at Old Trafford - the eighth-highest in the club’s history.

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