Sean O’Brien looks increasingly likely that he will sign for Top 14 side Toulon and is expected to speak to the club again tomorrow.
The Leinster and Ireland flanker checked out the club’s facilities and Stade Felix Mayol stadium last week, and according to The Irish Times is expected to arrive in France again tomorrow for further discussions.
The Lions player who is sidelined for the next four to five months, is thought to want to stay with his native province, but similar to Johnny Sexton last year, may find the lucrative offer difficult to turn down.
IRFU’s protracted negotiations with his agent Fintan Drury of Platinum One have reached an impasse and the offer from Toulon, even after tax, dwarfs that currently on offer from the IRFU.
Racing Metro are also in the running and are believed to be willing to offer more than €500,000 for O’Brien, with the offer all the more attractive with the ‘French net’ system. It allows the club to pay a large portion of tax resulting in the player paying between 10 – 20 per cent in tax.
O’Brien is said to have been impressed with the facilities at the reigning Heineken Cup champions and a move to Toulon seems more likely with departures of Joe van Niekerk and Virgile Bruni at the end of the season.
With Jamie Heaslip’s contract situation also in the limelight, it is an intense period for the powers that be in Irish rugby.