At the launch of the Guinness Pro12 season at Park Royal, London, were (left to right) Munster’s Peter O’Mahony, Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip, Ulster’s Rory Best and Connacht’s John Muldoon. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Province back on an even keel going into new Pro12 campaign

Johnny Sexton’s mooted return from France to play for Leinster next season has been welcomed even by rival provinces. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

“It’s a great statement about the league, it’s a great statement about Irish rugby” – Leinster coach Matt O’Connor

Jonathan Sexton reacts during Racing Metro’s French Top 14 match against Union Bordeaux-Begles (UBB)at Chaban Delmas Stadium in Bordeaux at the weekend. Photograph: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Outhalf’s 2015 return to Leinster probably signals departure of Jimmy Gopperth

Aurillac head coach Jeremy Davidson: “I’m looking forward to seeing him [Eddie O’Sullivan]. I left him a message when he was appointed to wish him all the best.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

There are now more Irish head coaches in the French ProD2 than in Pro12

Leinster forwards coach Leo Cullen. “I would have watched a lot of coaches pretty closely over the last number of years.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The former Leinster captain is adjusting to his new role as forwards’ coach with the province

Jamie Heaslip (right) celebrating Leinster’s win over Glasgow Warriors in the final of RaboDirect PRO12 at the RDS in May. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leinster number eight had become the de facto captain in any case

Johnny Sexton in action for  Racing Metro against Harlequins in last year’s Heineken Cup. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Inpho.

Outhalf weighs up offer of one-year extension from Racing Metro

Number eight Roger Wilson made his Ulster debut in 2003. Photograph: Inpho

Loss of key personnel not an excuse for province with appetite for glory

Brian O’Driscoll: former Ireland captain   would be a compromise candidate to fill new position of president in the newly-formed EPCR (European Professional Club rugby). Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Player has not been approached and role with new club body would conflict with punditry work

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