Anthony Foley calls Paul O’Connell Toulon rumours ‘a nonsense’

Munster legend has been linked with move to European champions

Paul O'Connell's move to Toulon this summer won't happen unless Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal wants to buy the Ireland captain out of his contract, according to Anthony Foley.

The Munster coach insisted that he had heard nothing about O'Connell possibly leaving the southern province this summer, one year ahead of the end of his contract, but that he wasn't surprised that a "world class" player like O'Connell was linked with the double European champions.

The Ireland captain was absent from training yesterday at Musgrave Park because of a shoulder injury, which may keep him out of Saturday’s match against Treviso at the Cork venue.

O’Connell has made no secret of his desire to play some rugby in France before the end of his illustrious career, but Foley said he suspected the story had been released to try to derail Munster’s Pro12 drive.

“He is contracted here for another season, so you know, I don’t know. Unless your man [Boudjellal] wants to buy him out,” Foley said.

“They look at every world class player and I’m sure there is a lot of coaches being asked the same question . . .

“Look, it’s a nonsense, it’s a nuisance. People are probably trying to cause trouble to try to interfere with our run in. Unless somebody says it to us. I know you write in the media, but we don’t read it. It’s neither here nor there to me.”

Replacement O’Connell will be assessed later in the week to see what damage

was done to his shoulder during Munster’s recent bonus-point victory over Edinburgh, but the coach has a ready-made replacement in Donnacha Ryan after he came through 80 minutes for the Munster A team against Ulster Ravens last week.

“It’s great Donnacha Ryan got through 80 minutes. It adds a little bit more of depth to our squad,” said Foley.

“We have guys coming back in who haven’t played a lot of rugby this year and they are coming back in and giving a fresh impetus to the squad.”

Denis Hurley is also a doubt with an hamstring injury, while new signing Tyler Bleyendaal will not be ready to play on Saturday against Treviso at Musgrave Park, but will see the specialist today to assess his progress.