O'Brien spurns Top 14 to stay with Leinster
January 16, 2014
Sean O'Brien has extended his stay with Leinster © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions flanker Sean O'Brien has signed a new two-year contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union and Leinster.
O'Brien was heavily linked with a move to Toulon but much to the delight of both Ireland and Leinster supporters, the flanker has turned his back on a potential move to the Top 14 and has extended his stay in Dublin.
The flanker, who has 30 caps for Ireland, admitted it was a tough decision amid all the interest from teams in France but he was pleased to re-sign with the province.
"It is flattering to find yourself the subject of interest from some of the biggest rugby clubs in the world but in the end I made a decision based on the standard mix of professional and personal considerations," O'Brien said. "It was a very difficult decision but, with a World Cup next year and the fact that I believe Leinster can continue to win trophies, I have decided to commit my immediate future to the club.
"I am very excited about what Ireland can achieve under Joe Schmidt and I am confident that, under Matt O'Connor, Leinster will remain the power in Europe it has been over the past five or six years."
The future of his Leinster team-mate Jamie Heaslip is still shrouded in uncertainty with both Toulon and Montpellier reportedly keen on his services. But the IRFU has managed to tie down one of their premier players on a contract funded by the organisation.
"Sean is one of world rugby's stand out talents," IRFU CEO Philip Browne said. "He has proven for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions that he is world class player and we are delighted that Sean has committed his future to Leinster and Ireland for the next two years."
Leinster CEO Mick Dawson added: "We are delighted that Sean has signed a new IRFU contract which keeps him at Leinster up to the end of the 2016 season. We were always hopeful that the environment we have created here at Leinster and the ambition of the club would be a strong factor in Sean's decision.
"He is a truly world class player and we are delighted that his future has now been put to rest."
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