Improved IRFU offer to Peter O'Mahony sees sense prevail
This was enough to get the deal done before O'Mahony's deadline.
While several deals have been carried out away from the media glare, in recent weeks, the protracted contract negotiations of Peter O'Mahony an CJ Stander have certainly not. Every twist, turn, low-ball offer, tale of interest from abroad and improved deal has made its way into the light.
While Connacht and Leinster have been busy getting deals done, Munster and Ulster were waiting on white smoke from 10 Lansdowne Road.
Garry Ringrose, Tadhg Furlong, Kieran Marmion and Conor Carey are among those said to have agreed terms [Leinster will not make official announcements until early 2018], but Ulster have got Kieran Treadwell, Rob Herring and Luke Marshall to sign contract extensions. Marty Moore and Jordi Murphy are off to Belfast next June too.
That's not bad going. Munster were boosted, last summer, with signings of JJ Hanrahan, James Hart and Chris Farrell - with Gerbrandt Grobler and Chris Cloete also coming in - but the recent departure of Donnacha Ryan and the impending exit of Simon Zebo have their fans nervous. Tadhg Beirne will join for next season but the priorities were securing a few of their current stars, starting with O'Mahony.
At 5pm on Friday, the deal was done...
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 15, 2017
The Munster captain put in his best performance of the season in his side's dismantling of Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park, last weekend. Ahead of the game, O'Mahony had given some brief answers on the state of play with regards to his new deal. In doing so, he set a deadline of January 1 before he was making a decision, one way or the other.
That decision is set to be in Munster's favour after the IRFU came back with a much improved central contract offer. SportsJOE understands that the initial offer was for a base salary [excluding Test match appearances] of €400,000.
That offer was rejected and it was no surprise to read, soon after, that both Leicester Tigers and Gloucester were interest in securing the Cork man's services. Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys has since distanced himself with making a move for the flanker but the Aviva Premiership, rather than France's Top 14, would have been the most likely destination.
The union has since come back with an offer just over €500,000 and the assurance of an additional sponsorship deal, acquired with its assistance. Test match appearance bonuses would top the initial salary offer up and Ireland could play as many as 28 international games in between June 2018 and 2020.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) December 1, 2017
While O'Mahony may have been able to secure a slightly higher base salary offer from a couple of big-spending Premiership sides, the IRFU breaching the €500k mark ensured he signed on until June 2021.
The improved offer puts him close to Sean O'Brien, Conor Murray and Jamie Heaslip when it comes to earning power, with Johnny Sexton still leading the way.
CJ Stander has also been offered a much improved deal - the initial base offer was, as previously reported, €280,000. He could earn slightly over €400,000 if he takes the union up on their improved deal.
For Stander, nothing is signed yet but the latest developments are extremely encouraging for Munster and Ireland fans.