Up In The Air

Mourad Boudjellal says Paul O'Connell's move to Toulon is going ahead

A French newspaper suggests O’Connell signed a deal in Toulon yesterday.

Updated 17.20

DESPITE A REPORT this morning that Paul O’Connell’s move to France was in jeopardy due to an issue with his shoulder, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal says his club have signed the Ireland captain.

Paul O'Connell It now looks like O'Connell will be joining Toulon as expected. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Var-Matin, a newspaper with extremely close ties to Toulon, reports Boudjellal confirmed to them that O’Connell signed a two-year contract, the second year of which is optional, in the south of France yesterday.

Boudjellal is quoted as telling Var-Matin that O’Connell “very much wants to finish his career as Jonny Wilkinson did,” having been in contact with RCT since January.

Despite this morning’s report in rugby newspaper Midi Olympique that a longstanding shoulder injury had seen Toulon question their deal with O’Connell, Var-Matin says the second row passed his medical examination in Toulon.

This latest report suggests that O’Connell’s signing of the contract yesterday “definitively lifts any doubt” about his move to Toulon next season.

The window for Top 14 clubs to announce new signings ahead of next season officially closes at midnight tonight.

Midi Olympique had suggested the French side may look elsewhere in the short-term following concern over a shoulder issue.

POC Midi Olympique Midi Olympique

While the rugby newspaper did point out that Toulon might still sign O’Connell after the World Cup as a ‘medical joker’, helping them to save money on his salary, there was also word that Toulon were looking at alternatives, including 33-year-old Australian lock Mark Chisholm.

The article mentioned that O’Connell is wanted by Pau, who were promoted into the Top 14 after a dominant season in the Pro D2. The Ireland second row laughed off links with the Simon Mannix-coached club back in November, but Midi Olympique says they proposed a one-year contract.

- First published at 9.15. Additional reporting from Murray Kinsella. 

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