The IRFU have announced that their budgeted €4.7m deficit has been reduced to €2.8m following the performances of both national and provincial teams on the pitch.
A budget of €4.7m was agreed back in April 2016 in order to address the issue of funding difficulties facing all four provinces due to player cost inflation and the need to continue investment in the grassroots game and player development.
IRFU Honorary Treasurer, Tom Grace stated:
"The combination of prize money and an increase in (sponsorship) contract amounts outweighed the negative impact of exchange rates on Six Nations broadcasting income. Against budget total revenues were €2.9m ahead due to strong Guinness Series gates, impressive Six Nations hospitality, prize-money and share of (European Cup) gates."
Being €1.9m under budget for the IRFU is out of the ordinary and Grace admits "it is not the Union's usual practice to budget for a deficit and we expect to return to break even next season."
But along with good news for the Union, there is also a sense of caution from the honorary treasurer.
"It is important to note that a number of the Provinces will be budgeting for a deficit this season but that is not sustainable long term and must be addressed.”