Ireland's Sean O'Brien to join London Irish from Leinster in December
Last Updated: 12/02/19 12:40pm
Ireland international Sean O'Brien will join London Irish from Leinster in December, following the conclusion of this year's World Cup.
The 31-year-old has been a stalwart at Leinster for over a decade and will once again link up with former Ireland head coach Declan Kidney at the Exiles, who are well-placed to return to the Premiership next season.
O'Brien, who won the most recent of his 54 Ireland caps in the Six Nations win over Scotland on Saturday, is a two-time British and Irish Lions tourist and has won four Champions Cup titles and two Pro 14 titles since joining Leinster in 2008.
It's a club that's been around for a long time and there's an obvious connection to Ireland with some greats of Irish rugby having previously worn the jersey.
"After speaking with Declan it was obvious the ambition London Irish have as a club," O'Brien said. "I'm keen to roll up the sleeves and use my experience to help re-establish London Irish as a top club in England.
"It's a club that's been around for a long time and there's an obvious connection to Ireland with some greats of Irish rugby having previously worn the jersey. For now my concentration remains solely with Leinster and Ireland but it's an exciting challenge that awaits."
O'Brien, whose Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) contract expires after the World Cup, has put his international future in question by joining London Irish.
The IRFU only select overseas-based players in extreme circumstances, meaning O'Brien's Ireland swansong is set to come at the World Cup in Japan.
London Irish Director of Rugby Kidney awarded O'Brien his first international cap in 2009, and says he is looking forward to working with the flanker again once the World Cup in Japan has finished.
"Recruitment is an on-going process, and we are always on the lookout for players of Sean's ability," Kidney said.
"Sean has proven himself time and time again to be a quality player who sets very high standards for himself and those around him, he leads by example and has a winning mentality.
"We are delighted that Sean wants to come and be a part of our journey as we move back into west London at the new Brentford Community Stadium in August 2020 after he has finished his commitments to Leinster and Ireland at the end of this year."