Paul O’Connell rumours stoked by Toulon president Boudjellal
Despite remarks, Munster star most to likely see out his career in Ireland
Paul O’Connell: Toulon’s owner Mourad Boudjellal linked him with the French club. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan.
president of Toulon, has stoked the rumours linking Paul O’Connell with the three-in-a-row European champions by hinting the Irish captain could be with the club next season.
Boudjellal was interviewed by the Paris-based radio station RMC yesterday and when asked if O’Connell and Duane Vermeulen would be playing with Toulon next year he said: “L’un des deux sera Toulonnais.” (One of the two will be at Toulon.)
He was possibly being mischievous, and of course his comment could also mean they are merely signing Vermeulen, the Stormers and Springbok number eight, with whom they have been more strongly linked.
Nonetheless, Boudjellal’s comment is somewhat removed from the club statement denying any interest in O’Connell, issued the week before last. (They made similar denials before signing Jonny Wilkinson, Drew Mitchell and others.)
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As was also reported at the time, O’Connell had had no contact with any potential French suitors, and with a year remaining on his existing contact, it was highly unlikely he would relocate to Toulon.
O’Connell himself remains undecided about whether to continue playing after the World Cup later this year or see out his current contract, but maintained he had had no contact with Toulon.
“I’m probably about 90 per cent sure what I’m going to do, but the other 10 per cent is probably holding me back from saying for sure what I am going to do yet in the media.”
Nonetheless, as Ronan O’Gara has stated, when Toulon identify a prospective target, they tend to get their man, and there must be a possibility that Boudjellal could buy out the last seven months or so of O’Connell’s contract.
Nonetheless, despite Boudjellal’s remark, it remains highly likely O’Connell will see out his career in Ireland.