Best believes IRFU policy is correct

Rory Best
Rory Best

Irish captain Rory Best believes the Irish Rugby Football Union’s current policy of not selecting players who opt to play overseas is right because it protects those in the National squad.

The British Lions hooker insists the governing body’s centralisation programme looks after the players and it also encourages them to stay at home.

Best said in his opinion the way the Union had set-up the transition from amateur to the professional game was really good and they looked after their players well.

Best was responding to questions on the potential threat to the Irish player base posed by big French and English clubs coming in and throwing bucket loads of money at the star players.

That had come on the back of Irish winger Simon Zebo being attracted by the lure of overseas clubs this week when he announced on Monday he would be leaving Munster at the end of the current season.

French club Pau are understood to be leading the charge for his signature.

Best did not think the IRFU would change their laws if there was a bigger draw on Irish players to overseas clubs.

“I think the IRFU have been hard and fast, like England have been set in stone. Wales came out and have rejigged it now to try and help some of the players which has hindered others,” said Best.

“I think when Jonny (Sexton) left he was still selected, the big think from an IRFU point of view is they do not have control over you in those breaks in the Six Nations and even say they do not pick someone now for the Fiji game (in November), potentially that player would have to go back to play for their club if they were somewhere else.

“That is the big reason why the IRFU if it is a 50-50 decision opt for having the player at home.

“I think it is right, you have to encourage players to stay here.

“If you look at the other national teams there are not too many players 31, 32, 33...35 (his own age) that are still playing.

“A lot of that is down to how well we are looked after in between the big games, inter-pros, Europeans and internationals.”