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27th Mar 2017

Donnacha Ryan leaving Munster and Ireland is just a cruel, devastating blow

This should not be happening

Sean McMahon

There is something wrong with this.

When news broke over the weekend that Donnacha Ryan could be leaving Munster for Ronan O’Gara’s Racing 92, Munster fans would have been hoping there was little truth to it.

We often hear about rumours surrounding Irish players being linked with moves abroad.

It is often the case that players’ agents generate speculation in order to put pressure on the IRFU to give a better deal to a particular player.

Unfortunately for Munster and Ireland, that is not the case this time.

Ryan’s departure looks set to happen.

From the outside looking in, the IRFU not offering the Tipperary native a central contract sort of makes sense.

Ryan is 33 years old and it could be said that he is in the twilight years of his career.

However, the towering lock is a special case.

The man is in the form of his life and he was arguably Ireland’s most consistent performer during the Six Nations.

His absence from the starting XV in Ireland’s opening game against Scotland in the Six Nations was galling.

Joe Schmidt’s side missed the incredible level of aggression and work-rate which he brings every single time he takes to the pitch.

The Tipperary man has plenty of years left in him, especially when you consider the position he plays in and his injury profile over the last number of years.

Ryan was sidelined with a troublesome toe injury which kept him out of the game for some time.

Since then, he has returned to be one of the best locks in Europe.

This determination and desire to be the very best in the face of adversity is just a testament to his character and professionalism.

It is a trait which should be cherished and nurtured.

Unfortunately for Ryan and Munster, the IRFU don’t see it this way and feel that his quality does not deserve a renewal of a central contract.

Munster have offered him a deal, which pales in comparison to what he is being offered from Jacky Lorenzetti and Racing 92.

Rugby players’ careers are short and you can’t blame Ryan for looking for the best deal possible.

However, you feel that the IRFU should have done more to offer a player of Ryan’s quality what he deserves.

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