O'Connell to make decision on future in June

O'Connell to make decision on future in June

PAUL O’Connell will make a decision about his rugby future in June.

The Irish captain has been repeatedly linked with a switch to French giants Toulon, but is contracted with the IRFU until the summer of 2016.

“There isn’t anything to tell about it,” O’Connell said about Toulon when speaking at the launch of the new adidas Climachill product on Wednesday “I mean, from what I read about it, it started about six or seven months ago where there was stuff about Pau in the papers.

“I suppose the fact I haven’t been really clear about when I’m finishing or what I am going to do when I finish probably adds to it. I thought I would be fully sure about what I was going to do by now, but I’m probably not.

“I’m looking to finish out the end of the season with Munster and make some decisions then, over the month of June.

“I certainly haven’t spoken to Toulon or been over there or done anything like that. There are no options to do anything. I am contracted with Ireland until June 2016.”

O’Connell hopes to give ‘people some clarity’ soon. “The biggest thing for me is I probably need to make some decisions and give people some clarity about what I am going to do. I thought when Brian (O’Driscoll) was retiring, he went for one more year, he was 100 per cent sure he was retiring that summer. I suppose it just clears up any ambiguity, clears up any doubts about what he was doing.

“For me, I’m not just there yet. I am about 90 per cent sure of what I am doing, but I am not 100 per cent sure.

“I just think if I came out and said ‘this is what I’m doing, I’m retiring on such-and-such a date’ and I have a change of heart, it’d look silly and I’d end up being married to something that maybe you didn’t want to be, so that is where I am at the moment. The decision is still up in the air.”

O’Connell admitted that living and playing in France has always ‘interested’ him and he keeps in regular contact with Toulon fitness coach Paul Stridgeon as well as former Munster colleagues Ronan O’Gara and Mike Prendergast.

“It definitely will have always interested me. You’d love to go down there as a young man as well, and you’d love to go down there in great shape. The longer you play and the more internationals you play that becomes increasingly difficult to do.

“The only I’d be in contact with is Paul Stridgeon, the fitness guy who was the fitness guy with the Lions whom I got on very well with and shoot the breeze with from time to time. And I’d be in contact with Rog every week and with Mike Prendergast every week. That would really be my only contact down there.”

“I think they all really enjoy it. I think they’re probably all homesick as well. I was asked about leaving and why I’d never left and it’s hard to leave your home province. We do have great set-ups here. It’s always been incredibly enjoyable, always brilliantly run, the body gets really well looked after, but — sorry I lost my train of thought there; yeah, I think Prendy and Rog really enjoy it but they are homesick and I’d say they would love to see themselves coming back in time. But they do sing the praises of the experience down there and what it’s done for them and for their family as well.

“Hopefully, that can happen whether it is inside or outside rugby. I’d love to settle in Limerick. But, I wouldn’t see myself settling there just yet.”