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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# reluctant hero
Paul O'Connell wanted to retire, but Toulon just kept calling -- Laporte
Like the Mounties, Toulon always get their man.

TOULON HEAD COACH Bernard Laporte says that persistent interest from the French club eventually made Paul O’Connell decide on a move to the Top14.

Paul O'Connell James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

In January, the Ireland captain revealed an intention to retire after the World Cup or in 2016, but now has an option for an extra year in his contract with the European champions.

Speaking on Sud Radio this evening, Laporte says the change of heart was down to Toulon’s refusal to give up the chase for the Six Nations’ Player of the Tournament who they had long earmarked to fill the void left by the retiring Ali Williams and Bakkies Botha.

“Paul O’Connell wanted to stop, but we called every week and he finally agreed,” Laporte told the Rugby et Cie show.

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Bernard Laporte celebrates with the trophy Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“Toulon will be very good for him, to make the transition and provide experience here.

“Toulon will be fine for him to make the transition by bringing his experience here. It is best for both parties, he will bring another dimension.”

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