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Friday 9 December 2016

Paul O'Connell on his way to Toulon

Toulon owner confirms Irish captain will spend two seasons in France

‘O’Connell seemed like the logical development of several decades of gritty Munster forward play’
‘O’Connell seemed like the logical development of several decades of gritty Munster forward play’
Paul O'Connell, pictured, has been praised by Reggie Corrigan

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has confirmed Paul O'Connell's signature on a two-year deal to join the European champions.

The Ireland captain was initially reported to have failed to convince Toulon that a long-standing shoulder injury would survive the World Cup.

French newspaper Midi Olympique signalled the possibility O'Connell could be available to other prospective clubs as Toulon hesitated over rubber-stamping the deal.

It even put forward Australia international lock Mark Chisholm as an alternative person of interest to big-spending Boudjellal.

This was contradicted by later assertions from local newspaper Var Matin that O'Connell had completed the transfer before the Top-14 deadline closed at midnight last night.

It was further strengthened when RTE Sport was told directly by Boudjellal last night that the transfer had gone through.

This brings to a conclusion a deal that was first discussed as far back as January when Toulon moved to replace the iconic figure of Springbok Bakkies Botha in their second row.

All Blacks Ali Williams and Carl Hayman will also be missing from their forward pack as Boudjellal looks to O'Connell to continue his club's European domination and to recapture of the French Top-14 title.

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