Girvan Dempsey knows Irish have the advantage at club and country level

Bath’s attack coach understands why central contracts in Ireland have reaped such big rewards

In the past few weeks there have been two team sheets that have jumped off the page. Firstly, it was Bath’s “B team” against Saracens in the Premiership, then came Leinster’s all-star cast facing Wasps in the Champions Cup curtain-raiser on Friday night.

The first prompted accusations that Bath were waving the white flag, the second considered a statement of intent by the standard-bearers of European rugby; the product of a centralised system driving Ireland’s success at club and international level. In short, Bath were vilified for rotating players whereas Leinster are often praised for it when it means they can wheel out the big guns, suitably rested, at key points of the season. Central contracts ensure player rotation whereas the Premiership’s commercial interests make for attrition. And no one is more acutely aware of the differences than Girvan Dempsey.

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