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'I don't know where it came from' - POC quashes French move rumour

The Ireland captain laughed off speculation of a transfer to join James Coughlan and Simon Mannix at Pau.

O'Connell smiles as he denies talk of a move to France.
O'Connell smiles as he denies talk of a move to France.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

ONE OF THE stranger transfer stories of recent times popped up on Monday, as Paul O’Connell was linked with a move to Pau in the Pro D2 by French media.

Midi Olympique reported that the Ireland captain is chief among the transfer targets for the Simon Mannix-coached Pau, who have been in superb form in France’s second-tier this season and seem destined for the Top 14 in 2015/16.

O’Connell is tied down to an IRFU contract until the summer of 2016, meaning any move to Pau next season always seemed almost certain to simply be based in the realm of rumour.

Speaking at the Aviva Stadium after Ireland’s captain’s run ahead of facing Michael Cheika’s Australia tomorrow, a good-humoured O’Connell underlined that there was no truth in the story.

I don’t know anything about it,” smiled the 35-year-old.

“I don’t know where it came from. I suppose the fact that Simon Mannix and James Coughlan are there maybe and I knew them at Munster. But there’s been nothing done on my behalf and nothing done on Pau’s behalf anyway.

“I’m contracted until the summer of 2016, so I don’t know where it came from.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 13.35.04 The Midi Olympique article that fired the rumours of POC's move to France. Source: Midi Olympique

Mannix was backs coach at Munster under Rob Penney before leaving the province last summer. Former Dolphin clubman Coughlan joined Pau along with Mannix and ex-Munster video analyst Elliot Corcoran at the start of the season.

33-year-old number eight Coughlan has been earning highly positive reviews for his form in the Pro D2 and is enjoying life in France by all accounts.

However, O’Connell’s attention is firmly on beating the Wallabies in Dublin tomorrow, whatever the French media are talking about.

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Murray Kinsella

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