Flanker Sean O’Brien has committed his future to Leinster and Ireland and signed a two-year contract extension with the IRFU despite interest from France.
Leinster coach Matt O’Connor now expects back row Jamie Heaslip to follow O’Brien’s lead and stay with the Blues as Toulon wait in the wings.
Currently injured, O’Brien has declined the chance to follow Irish teammate Jonny Sexton to France.
“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,” O’Brien said.
“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 sox years.”
O’Connor is confident that Heaslip will also stay with Leinster and reject the interest from France.
“All you can go off is what the guys are saying and Jamie has said all along that he wants to be in Ireland, he wants to be in Dublin and he wants to be in Leinster,” O’Connor said.
“You’ve got to take guys on face value and Jamie lives that every day.”
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore