IRFU high-performance director David Nucifora has hinted that Rob Kearney may be set for pastures new after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The 32-year-old full-back's contract is up in November. He was not included on Leinster's list of new contracts released early this week, nor was he on the list of those heading for the exit door.
While it was confirmed in February that Sean O'Brien will join up with London Irish after this year's tournament, Kearney is in a state of limbo.
"Sean and Rob have been around a long time and have contributed a heck of a lot to Irish rugby," Nucifora told RTÉ Sport's Michael Corcoran.
"It's always difficult when someone comes towards the back end of a career. Everyone has decisions to make. They need to look after themselves and what's best for them. We want to try and make good decisions with them.
"We obviously have a responsibility to the game as well. You try and find the best middle ground you can.
"Sometimes that means reaching an agreement to stay, sometimes it's best for you to move on. Everyone accepts that.
"For Sean, everyone wishes him well. He's been fantastic for Irish rugby."
Nucifora also discussed the IRFU's position on the proposed Nations Cup, World Rugby's potentially revolutionary concept which is currently being mulled over by the game's leading unions.
"We're open minded to everything," he said. "We want to make sure the decisions are made with all the information, That's the only way you can make a good decision. Things are moving quickly.
"Sometimes you've got to take a deep breath, slow down and make sure you have access to all the information.
"That's what the IRFU are doing. We are assessing everything. Nothing is in and nothing is out. These decisions are things that are going to be with us a long time so you want to be 100% sure you're confident the right one is being made."
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