Twenty-one years ago next August, world rugby went professional. In the immediate aftermath, the IRFU took the bold decision that the union would own and thereby control the game outright in Ireland. Consequently, all player contracts would be centralised. It proved to be a masterstroke.
Other nations across Europe didn’t centralise and let market forces take over. There was a generation of chaos. Famous clubs disappeared; unions fought owners. Even today, the game in Wales...
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