MUNSTER Head Coach Anthony Foley hopes Paul O’Connell will see out the remainder of his contract with the IRFU.
There is speculation that O’Connell might decide to join French giants Toulon or even retire at the end of the Rugby World Cup, but Foley hopes the Ireland captain will opt to continue playing.
“He’s had an unbelievable Six Nations,” Foley said. “He was player of the Six Nations so I don’t know why we’d want to put him down yet.
“Everything like that will go on behind private, closed doors. It’s not a public conversation.
“It’s not for me to sit down here and plead a case, it’s something that will happen in an office and nobody will know about it.
“Personally, I had to make that decision as well and it’s not an easy decision for anyone to make, to step away from a game that you love to play. But sometimes your body tells you that you need to look after yourself, so it’s important he makes the right decision when the time comes for him to step away from it.
“You know, there’s a lot of nonsense being written. There’s a lot of people sticking their poker in the fire and trying to stir things up or something like that, but at the moment we’re fully focused on Ulster this weekend.”
Ulster host Munster at Ravenhill on Saturday and that is the main ‘focus’ according to Foley. “I have spoken to Paul about five times in the last eight days, but all of them were around preparation for the game.
“There hasn’t been one conversation around personal decisions or anything that he may have to make or mightn’t make.
“We’re fully focused. We understand the importance of this weekend and we want to get on with it and play rugby.
“Paul is contracted until June next season, I always get confused around why we’re talking about a fella who’s under contract.”