Donncha O’Callaghan On Irish Rugby Contract Negotiations & Peter O’Mahony’s Talks
Former Munster and Ireland lock Donncha O’Callaghan was a guest on Off The Ball last night to discuss Peter O’Mahony and the current contract negotiations that are going on with some of Ireland’s senior players.
It’s been a hot topic in recent days, with O’Mahony and his teammate CJ Stander reportedly rejecting their initial IRFU contracts, due to the power of the market with French and English clubs offering massive deals to lure them away.
O’Callaghan says he hopes it’s just agents trying to get things over the line, and noted how stressful contract negotiations can be for the top players.
“I hope it’s agents trying to get things over the line and to be fair, I think that’s the case with the likes of these fellas to be fair. They’re guys that really care about their province and the country,” O’Callaghan said
“I’ll be honest with you, contract negotiation time is really, really stressful and when you consider these guys have been away in camp for the last few weeks, playing big international games and now they’re coming back into what is the real meat of their season, the back to back European Cup games and then huge provincial matches. So it’s trying to get the balance on that and make sure they’re getting what’s right for them.”
In terms of the money on offer in England and France, O’Callaghan says the model isn’t right, with many clubs running at huge losses.
“Look, there’s massive money in England and France but the model isn’t right. I know first-hand with our club [Worcester], and with many of the clubs, they run at a loss. People put money into these clubs knowing that they’re going to lose money.”
In terms of O’Mahony, O’Callaghan says he is “massively important to Irish and Munster rugby” and a symbol for aspiring players. But he feels “the market value for players has increased across the board and I think with both CJ [Stander] and Pete, they’re just guys who just want their market value”.
O’Callaghan also discussed his contract negotiations in 2005, and how he weighed up a possible move to Gloucester, before signing his first central contract.
“I just remember once in 2005, I went up to Gloucester to have a look. I didn’t know my market value. I was on a provincial contract and you can chat to agents but it’s nothing like actually sitting down across the way from the clubs and finding out what your value was. And that led to me moving onto a national contract and I was really happy with that.
“What’s happened now is that the money is so great. Like, it would have been a disaster if they’d offered me a brilliant deal because I didn’t want to go.”
At the end of the day, O’Callaghan says it’s a “no-brainer” in terms of making sure O’Mahony signs a new deal.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer. Peter O’Mahony playing for Munster, just boom, just make it happen. He’s the heartbeat of the place at the moment and it’s important we keep that,”