Saturday July 11, 2020

How rugby’s new money talked

In an extract from The New Breed: Irish Rugby’s Professional Era, Patrick McCarry explains how Irish rugby reacted to professionalism

30th August, 2015
Donal Lenihan leads Ireland out to face Wales in Wellington at the 1987 Rugby World Cup. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

The first inkling that many of Ireland’s leading rugby players got of a professional future came when they decamped to the other side of the world for the inaugural Rugby World Cup, 28 years ago.

Former Ireland captain Donal Lenihan recalls: “We could see in New Zealand, in 1987, that their players were all in adverts for tractors and televisions. We were still on the equivalent of two-and-sixpence as our daily allowance. The Australian...

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