THE IRFU SAYS it has been in talks with Sean O’Brien over a new contract, with the first meeting having taken place as far back as the 5th of June.
This revelation comes in the wake of comments made by the player’s agent, Fintan Drury of Platinum One, that he had not been contacted by the IRFU in relation to a new deal for the Ireland international.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Drury stated that he was not expecting the IRFU to get in touch about a new contract for O’Brien until after the upcoming November internationals. O’Brien’s current deal finishes at the end of the season, and he has been heavily linked with a move to Top 14 side Racing Metro.
However, the IRFU has confirmed that their representatives, along with those of Leinster, first met with Drury on the 5th of June to begin discussions over the player’s future. A second meeting took place on the 1st of October to advance those talks, on which occasion it was agreed that a further meeting would be held at the end of October.
That third meeting remains unscheduled, with the IRFU stating that they await a response from Drury in relation to a follow-up e-mail from the gathering on the 1st of October.
This confirmation that initial discussions over O’Brien’s future in Irish rugby have indeed been held contrast strongly with Drury’s assertion that he is awaiting a move from the IRFU. What is certain is that both parties have their own best interests at heart, but for supporters it is encouraging that the IRFU has apparently acted to secure the future of one of its most important assets.
The possibility of O’Brien’s departure next season has understandably raised consternation in some quarters and at just 26, the Tullow man still has so much to offer Leinster and Ireland. It is to be hoped that regardless of what is being said publicly, both parties can come to an agreement that keeps O’Brien in the country beyond this season.