Sean O'Brien commits future to Leinster by signing new three year deal
At a time when good news has been in short supply, Leinster fans should be considerably imbued by Sean O'Brien's decision to remain at the province until after the 2019 World Cup.
The flanker, who is currently battling an inner ear issue, ended any speculation of a long mooted move to France by inking a new three year deal with the IRFU.
The deal will keep him in the blue of Leinster until the end of World Cup in Japan in just under four years' time, at which point the Carlow native will be 32.
For Leo Cullen, hoping to lift his charges from their current malaise in what is proving a trying first season as head coach, the news could not have come at a better time, given centre Ben Te'o has announced his departure for the Worcester Warriors at the end of the season and the increasing likelihood that Ian Madigan will be plying his trade elsewhere for the 2016/17 campaign.
Sean O'Brien said today: "Growing up as a young lad in Tullow it was always my ambition to play for Leinster Rugby and Ireland so you never take moments like this for granted and I am very grateful for the opportunity to sign with a club that I feel is going in the right direction under Leo and the rest of the coaching team.
"I think we have a hugely talented group of players and coaches at provincial and national level and it is something that I want to be a part of.”
Meanwhile IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora commented on the decision, saying: "Sean is not only a proven world class player but he is a leader within the national set up and at Leinster.
"The IRFU are delighted that Sean has committed to playing in Ireland until after the next World Cup," he added.