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
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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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