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Rob Kearney hails his stress-free Ireland contract

By Nick Purewal

Rob Kearney took just 40 minutes to negotiate the new Ireland contract he signed this week.

The simplicity of the statement must not diminish its importance: where once new contract talks in Ireland assumed an unhealthy element of espionage, now there appears clarity and vision.

Top stars and rugby bosses alike had traded bluff and counter bluff in protracted discussions beset by rancour and recrimination in a testing last two years.

Johnny Sexton's disquieting Racing Metro experience has eased the battle for the IRFU, but only in part.

And rather than seize the emotional currency of the British and Irish Lion's French misadventure, Irish bosses instead moved to plug a vital gap.

Cerebral and celebrated head coach Joe Schmidt's tactical mastery cannot extend to all corners of the union, so in parachuted David Nucifora.

The former Wallabies hooker now fills the void between coaching staff and boardroom executives.

In-demand full-back Kearney's new three-year deal only serves to underscore still further the need to bridge politics and player power.

"I can only speak on my behalf, but the process has changed hugely," said Kearney.

"It was done very quickly over two meetings lasting about 15 or 20 minutes each. The whole process from start to finish took 10 days or two weeks. I think if that can happen for all the players throughout the country it can only benefit both the provinces and the national team.

"It was all done very quickly and was very stress-free."

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