Paul O'Connell rules out Toulon
Paul O'Connell says his IRFU contract will prevent him from joining Toulon after the World Cup.
The Ireland captain's current deal with the union runs until June 2016 and, while he expects them to release him from it if he decides to retire after the tournament, he says that he won't be allowed to join the European champions who want him to end his career at the Stade Felix Mayol.
The 35-year-old has not decided if he will continue after the World Cup but acknowledged that it marks a natural stepping-off point after an illustrious career.
He expects to have a decision made by the end of June and says his mind is 90pc made up.
"There are no options to do anything, I am on contract with Ireland until 2016," the second-row said. "I suppose it does rule it out really. Yeah, it does.
"The fact I haven't been really clear about when I'm finishing, about what I am going to do when I'm finished, probably adds to it (the speculation).
"I thought I would be fully sure about what I was going to do, when I would finish, but I am probably not. I'm looking to finish out the end of the season with Munster and make some decisions with Emily (his wife) then over June. I certainly haven't spoken to Toulon or been over there.
"When Brian (O'Driscoll) was retiring and went for one more year, he was 100pc sure he was retiring that summer. I suppose it just clears up any ambiguity, any doubts about what he's doing. I am not just there yet. I am 90pc sure of what I am doing but I am not 100pc sure.
"If I came out and said this is what I will do and I was retiring on such and such a date and had a change of heart, It'd look silly and I'd end up married to something I didn't want be so that is where I am at the moment. The decision is still up in the air."
Meanwhile, Sean Cronin faces a race to be fit for the World Cup warm-ups after he underwent surgery on an injured shoulder tendon yesterday. The Leinster hooker's recuperation period has been set at 12 weeks.