Sport Rugby

Monday 24 October 2016

Paul O'Connell wanted to quit but we called every week until he said yes - Toulon boss Laporte

Published 19/06/2015 | 09:00

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell

Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte has described how the French giants wore down Paul O'Connell's resistance to a move to the Top 14.

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The Limerick man will be at the heart of Toulon drive for a fourth consecutive European title next season after joining the ranks alongside South African juggernaut Duane Vermeulen and England prop Matt Stevens.

The Six Nations’ Player of the Tournament was earmarked by Laporte and Co after Ali Williams and Bakkies Botha announced their intention to retire and will join the club after ending his international career with Ireland at the Rugby World Cup.

Speaking on Sud Radio yesterday, the former coach of the French national side said that O'Connell was initially reluctant about the move but they remained persistent.

“Paul O’Connell wanted to stop, but we called every week and he finally agreed,” Laporte told the Rugby et Cie show.

“Toulon will be very good for him, to make the transition and provide experience here.

“Toulon will be fine for him to make the transition by bringing his experience here. It is best for both parties, he will bring another dimension.”

O'Connell will return to Ireland next season to take on Leinster after the side's were pitted against each other in the Champions Cup group of death which also contains Aviva Premiership sides Bath and Wasps.

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