Fans do recognise the difference and apply different standards to those moves.hugonaut wrote:Have to differ with you there on the first part, Doc. Ulster are/have been doing exactly that - Alan O'Connor, Nick Timoney, Greg Jones, Dave Shanahan, Eric O'Sullivan [A] and Jack Regan [A] were all overlooked by Leinster when it came to selection for the Leinster Academy. Ulster brought them into their own academy and have progressed all of them into their senior squad [bar Regan, who is still in the academy].The Doc wrote:
The "population and schools in Leinster are so huuuuge" argument would be more believable if the other academies were offering places to the schools players who don't make the Leinster academy - and developing them that way. Because then they would be tapping in to the larger population. They're not. They're tapping up our professional and academy squad - and all the provinces have approx. the same population of professional and academy players
But your point re: same number of pros in each provincial set up is a very good one.
When the IRFU started it's current approach of encouraging elite players to move there were 3 main concerns: all of which appear more valid over time.
It would lead to an exodus of players beyond the initial numbers
Traffic would be one way and not really balance squads
Most importantly, the risk of players moving would affect the development pipeline. If players are quick to move when they dont like selection and are less willing to develop their replacements then coaches have to factor that in.
Suddenly not picking a player for a few games has strong rumours of a move. Is Leo going to be so quick to give Ed Byrne a chance in the HC if he knows McGrath will be on to his agent/publicist.
This season it already looks like the Leinster squad is stratifying (a little) between HC and dirt trackers.
It's the same with player salaries. Moneybags clubs have a limited pool of players they can sign. If they come looking for, e.g. an 8, they want one but we have to give pay rises to Conan, Deegan and Doris to fend off interest.
The players Leinster are losing are painful. But what it will cost to keep the rest is where the real damage is done.