Four players sign new deals with Munster and IRFU
Archer and Foley among the foursome to conclude new deals six months before current deals expire
Dave Foley is one of the Munster players to sign a new contractPhotograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Further evidence of how much more smoothly the Irish system, and specifically contract renegotiations, now run was further underlined yesterday with the nicely timed announcement that a quartet of Munster players Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Felix Jones and David Kilcoyne have signed new contracts with the province and the IRFU almost six months before the expiry of their existing deals.
Lessons have clearly been learned from past mistakes and somewhat embittered contractual renegotiations between the union and players’ agents, notably the drawn-out Johnny Sexton saga which led to him joining Racing Metro the season before last.
So it is that the provinces and union work closer together, added to which is the more hands on role afforded to David Nucifora since his appointment on a five-year contract as the IRFU performance director last June. So it is that deals are done much more in advance and without protracted to-ing and fro-ing.
Archer has signed a three-year contract until June 2018, with the others signing two year deals until June 2017. Archer, Foley and Kilcoyne are all products of the Munster Rugby Academy while Jones has been with the province since 2009, with Foley becoming the fourth to be capped by Ireland during the recent Guinness Series when making his debut against Georgia and appearing as a replacement a week later in the win over Australia.
“Yes, it’s been great,” said Foley of the last month of his career. “It’s good to get the contract out of the way and look forward to those guys (Clermont). I have two caps for Ireland, I am out of the one-cap wonder, which is always a bonus and hopefully I will get more but it is not something I’m focused on.
“I have always said that I just want to play for Munster and whatever bonus I get from that is just that, a bonus.”
Easy to deal with
The flip side of having to bide one’s time after Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan and Donnacha Ryan as well as Ian Nagle and Billy Holland is that, at 26, this is only his third season as a professional, having initially moved from a development contract with just a one-year deal for the 2011-12 season.
“I signed a one-year because I dislocated my shoulder and it was just a nightmare. Of course I have looked away.
“Everyone knows that I have been behind a ridiculous amount of players in Munster and not just players, but some international and some world class and at one stage there wasn’t light at the end of the tunnel so I did look to go elsewhere but at the end I think I made the decision to just stick it out and see where I went from there.”
“It’s something you don’t want to be stressing about, hoping you can just say ‘that’s done’ and get it over with. I was happy to get this out of the way. I wanted to stay here, it never came down to being tempted by anything else or anything.”
Ongoing processAnthony Foley
“There are more talks going on. Obviously it’s great for Felix, Dave Kilcoyne, Stepen Archer and Dave Foley to commit their immediate future to Munster and hopefully a few more will follow in their footsteps.”
With Archer having signed for three years, Foley was asked about BJ Botha, and said “we haven’t gone there yet”.
The most pressing concern is ensuring their captain, Peter O’Mahony, is tied down to the province given his current deal expires at the end of the season.
“It’s ongoing at the moment,” said O’Mahony, “so fingers crossed we can get it done quite quickly, but we’ll let it run its course and worry about the rugby side of things.”