French newspaper Midi Olympique has a headshot of Ireland captain Paul O'Connell beneath the front page masthead under a headline 'Connell and Ashton for France?', a story that includes a suggestion that French ProD 2 league leaders Pau want to sign the secondrow following next year's World Cup despite the fact that he's contracted to Munster and Ireland until 2016.
There are a number of germane issues that have given the story a little impetus, but ones which may flag quickly.
‘It’s a big regret of mine’
One is that former Munster backs' coach Simon Mannix is the director of rugby at Bearn Pyrenees Section Paloise to give them their French name while ex-Munster number eight James Coughlan is also there.
The 35-year-old O’Connell said last month: “It’s a big regret of mine not having played abroad. I’ve lived in Limerick all my life and while I love it here, I would like to experience life abroad.
"I haven't started discussing my contract yet, so we'll see what happens." Oh, and apparently Toulouse might also be interested because they're losing Argentine Patricio Albacete.
However, Munster backs coach Brian Walsh has said that he was not aware of any such discussions and only heard of the story at training yesterday morning.