Exiles ready to pounce on Irish star
TRANSFER NEWS: London Irish have not been afraid to throw the cash around this season, with the Championship leaders already having secured the signings of three players for the 2019/20 season.
The Exiles, who lead the Championship by nine points from second-placed Ealing Trailfinders, have had their coffers boosted by the recent CVC Capital investment, whilst their ability to wrap up deals has been bolstered by their healthy league position, which has them as favourites to gain promotion to the Premiership later this year.
Australian duo Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona have already agreed to deals with the club, whilst Scotland international and British and Irish Lion Allan Dell has also committed to terms.
The latest player to be linked with the club is none other than Leinster and Ireland flank Sean O’Brien, with RugbyPass reporting that the London-based club is ready to offer O’Brien a three-year deal, with a salary of £450k, as they look to re-establish themselves in the Premiership in 2019/20.
O’Brien, 31, has had his fair share of injuries in recent years, but he brings the kind of ability as a ball-carrier and contact area specialist that Irish are keen to add, with the bottom half of the Premiership, in particular, more competitive than ever.
The versatile back rower has amassed 53 caps for Ireland in a 10-year international career and with the Carlow-born forward set to turn 32 later this month, he could be eyeing up a post-World Cup move away from Ireland, with the likes of Dan Leavy, Josh van der Flier and Scott Penny set to duke it out for the Irish seven jersey over the next RWC cycle.
Injuries have so far limited O’Brien to just six appearances for Leinster this season, something which could also factor into his post-RWC planning, as he looks to prepare for life after rugby.
The Championship club has also been linked with big money moves for Steve Mafi, Adam Coleman and Waisake Naholo, with Director of Rugby Declan Kidney seemingly unafraid of opening the purse strings and investing heavily in the playing squad at Hazelwood.
Watch: Ireland press conference ahead of their trip to BT Murrayfield to take on Scotland