Pooling together the best Irish players at an IRFU High Performance Centre could have a huge impact on the AIL, according to former international Fiona Hayes.

A report in the Irish Independent suggests that rugby's governing body is struggling to convince the top players on these shores to turn professional, stating that of the 18 full-time contracts offered to date, as few as seven have been accepted.

With some players being reportedly offered €15,000 a-year plus incentives, Hayes says that financially it is out of the question for many to make the switch on those terms.

"I think they [IRFU] will have to look harder at helping out with accommodation if that’s an area that is stopping some people," she said speaking on the RTÉ Rugby podcast.

"I presume they have asked the IRFU to go back and maybe up the money a little.

"People want to be professional, but you have to be able to live, to train correctly and all that takes money."

It has been mooted that next year’s Celtic Cup will compromise of two squads, with the top 60 players from the four provinces brought together in a camp at the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin.

As coach of Munster women and head coach of Ballincollig, Hayes is well-placed to voice her concerns over the proposal.

"We [Munster] had our season plan since September and that’s kind of being changed now. There’s only going to be three interpro games in a three-week window at the start of January.

"They have changed the format to fit in the Celtic Cup.

"They have identified around 60 players they will base the two squads off that

"I’m worried about these players moving up to Dublin. Are they going to leave their local clubs? Will they be able to afford to travel up and down to play AIL?

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