Sean O'Brien: 'When you are offered a big deal, you have to think about what is best for you'
Sean O'Brien has nearly recovered from injury and is looking forward to being back in action with Leinster, but the Tullow Tank concedes that if a big-money offer comes your way, it's something that you would have to think about.
O'Brien has a year to run on his current IRFU contract and although he says he wants a future with Leinster, there is also an air of a never-say-never attitude.
"Yeah hopefully that’s the case and we’ll see where we go in the next few weeks but it’s something I want to do," said O'Brien when asked if he he wanted to play for Leinster for as long as possible.
While that is certainly on his wish list, O'Brien says that any big-money offer is appealing.
"Yeah of course it is, lads want to experience different things and you have to do what’s right for you.
"You’ve only so long in this career and they’re all things to think about, lads will have tough decisions over the next few weeks and it’s not an easy time for players negotiating contracts and stuff like that, but there’s more important things I think at the minute on the field so keep focused on that."
While O'Brien admits the IRFU can't compete with the financial muscle of foreign teams, representing the Irish international team is a defining factor in players' decisions to stay at home.
"Yeah I think it’s (Irish protocol) major because you go over to somewhere in France or in England and they’re going to take their pound of flesh off you and that’s grand, it might suit someone if they want to do that but in fairness we are well looked after in Ireland with the player protocol, it’s good for us and it keeps us fresh and fit the majority of the time so it’s a big part of playing here," said O'Brien.
"You have to cement yourself into a team at some point and if you’re not a regular starter I don’t think you’ll be moving too far away if you’re a younger player trying to break into the squad."
O'Brien was hoping to be involved in Friday's Pro12 clash with Ulster but he did not make Leo Cullen's squad despite returning to light training this week.
"I ran today and I felt good so just take it one step at a time and make sure I’m right. Yeah it was (frustrating) obviously you want to be playing those big games, it’s difficult to watch.
"The lads are disappointed and they’re hurt over the results the last few weeks but training’s been good and I am looking forward to just getting back on the field again."
Ian Madigan, Sean O’Brien and Eoin Reddan spoke at the launch of the Life Style Sports “We Are Many, We Are Leinster” campaign that celebrates and rewards the inspirational Leinster supporters. Shop the range now at www.lifestylesports.com/leinster.