O'Connell stays loyal to Munster

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 13:22
Large paul o connell shouts Large paul o connell hand on head

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has turned down a potentially lucrative move to France in order to sign a new two-year contract that will keep him at Munster.

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has turned down a potentially lucrative move to France in order to sign a new two-year central contract that will keep him at Munster until at least 2016.

Monday's announcement by the Irish Rugby Football Union means the 34-year-old lock is now set to see out his career with his home province.

O'Connell's decision, coming shortly before the start of the Six Nations next month, will be a welcome boost to the IRFU as it bids to keep its top players at home and out of the hands of wealthy French clubs.

Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton joined Paris-based Racing Metro at the start of this season.

But O'Connell's fellow back-row, Sean O'Brien, turned down a move to Toulon - with France's Midi Olympique reporting that Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip has also said 'no' to the reigning European champions.

"I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract and to continue playing with Munster for the next two seasons," said O'Connell in an IRFU statement.

"Over the years I have been privileged to play in many fantastic Munster sides and as we build for the future I am excited by the prospect of playing my part in achieving success with Munster and Ireland in the coming seasons," added the second row, who will look to star for his country in next year's World Cup in England.

O'Connell has made 154 Munster appearances since his debut in 2001 and has been capped 88 times by Ireland.

Three-times a tourist with the British and Irish Lions and captain of the combined side in South Africa in 2009, O'Connell led Munster to European Cup glory in 2008 and the Celtic League title in 2009 and 2011.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne, who hailed O'Connell as one of Ireland's greatest players, welcomed his decision by saying: "Paul is one of Ireland's greatest ever rugby players and his contribution to the success of Irish rugby over the past decade has been immense.

"We are delighted that the Irish captain has committed his future to Munster and Ireland for the next two years."

Munster coach Rob Penney added: "Paul has contributed so much to Munster over the years and remains one of the best second rows in world rugby.

"His experience and leadership will play a key role in the future development of this young Munster squad."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Sharks v Bulls 10 | 40
PRO14
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 19 15 1 3 75
Munster 20 13 0 7 67
Cheetahs 20 11 0 9 58
Cardiff Blues 20 11 0 9 53
Ospreys 19 8 0 11 40
Connacht 20 6 0 14 34
Zebre 19 5 0 14 24
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 20 14 1 5 70
Scarlets 20 13 1 6 65
Edinburgh 20 14 0 6 64
Ulster 19 11 1 7 55
Treviso 20 11 0 9 54
Dragons 20 2 2 16 20
Kings 20 1 0 19 11