Saturday 23 February 2019

Sean O'Brien to end time with Leinster and Ireland and join Declan Kidney at London Irish after World Cup

Sean O'Brien has been linked with a move to London Irish. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Sean O'Brien has been linked with a move to London Irish. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Sean O'Brien is set to join London Irish next season after the Leinster and Ireland flanker agreed a deal with the Championship leaders.

Rumours about O'Brien's potential departure had emerged last night with RugbyPass reporting that a deal was in place.

Independent.ie also understands that O'Brien will join Declan Kidney's London Irish following his commitments with Ireland at the World Cup.

The signing will come as a major boost to Irish who are in line to be promoted back to the Premiership with Nick Phipps, Allan Dell and Curtis Rona all having signed.

O'Brien is also expected to be joined at the club with Paddy Jackson, who is believed to be leaving relegation-threatened Perpignan, while former Leinster team-mate Brendan Macken is currently plying his trade with Kidney's side too.

The move will see the Tullow native, who turns 32 next week, bring an end to his 11-year stay with his home province.

O'Brien is currently on a centralised IRFU contract, which will expire after the World Cup and the union are reluctant to extend that deal given his age and also his injury profile.

London Irish are understood to have tabled a three-year contract worth in the region of €450,000 per annum.

O'Brien has been a colossus for both Leinster and Ireland and he will remain a part of Joe Schmidt's World Cup plans despite his impending departure.

When contacted by Independent.ie, a Leinster spokesperson said they do not discuss rumours or contractual situations.

Ireland will face Scotland in the Six Nations tomorrow with O'Brien restored to the starting XV. Head coach Joe Schmidt is likely to be questioned about the flanker's move to London Irish afterwards.

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