Heineken Cup: Sean O'Brien ends speculation over future with new Leinster deal
Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien has committed his future to Leinster amid reports he was contemplating a move to France.
Last Updated: 16/01/14 5:54pm
O'Brien, who was part of the British and Irish Lions squad in Australia last summer, had been linked with a move to European champions Toulon,
"It is flattering to find yourself the subject of interest from some of the biggest rugby clubs in the world, but in the end I made a decision based on the standard mix of professional and personal considerations," said O'Brien, who has signed a two-year deal which ties him to Leinster until June 2016.
"It was a very difficult decision but, with a World Cup next year and the fact that I believe Leinster can continue to win trophies, I have decided to commit my immediate future to the club.
"I am very excited about what Ireland can achieve under Joe Schmidt, and I am confident that, under Matt O'Connor, Leinster will remain the power in Europe it has been over the past five or six years."
Last year fellow-Lions star Jonny Sexton quit Leinster for Racing Metro, one of many high-profile internationals to join the French league, and O'Brien's decision is seen as a huge boost for the IRFU who have been desperate to stem the flow.
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne added: "Sean is one of world rugby's stand-out talents.
"He has proven for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions that he is world-class player, and we are delighted he has committed his future to Leinster and Ireland for the next two years."
Munster duo Conor Murray and Donnacha Ryan have also signed new contracts although Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip, another linked with Toulon, has yet to decide on his future.
O'Brien's deal comes just 24 hours before Leinster conclude the group stages of the Heineken Cup against Pool One's bottom side Ospreys.
Leinster boast a four-point advantage at the top of the table but O'Brien is expecting a tough challenge from the Welshmen.
"If there is any team we would class as a bogey team over the last number of years then it has to be Ospreys," he said.
"You might say they have nothing to play for, we beat them in the first game over there, but if the roles were reversed then we would be gunning to beat them."
Watch Leinster entertain the Ospreys this Friday live On Sky Sports 1 HD from 19.30