O'Leary weighs up Perpignan switch
February 20, 2012
Munster No.9 Tomas O'Leary is considering a switch to France's Top 14 © Getty Images
Munster scrum-half Tomas O'Leary is set to decide this week whether his playing future lies in Ireland or France.
The 28-year-old Ireland international, whose last Test cap came in the defeat to France last August, is reportedly weighing up a new deal from Munster and a lucrative contract offer from Top 14 giants Perpignan with a decision expected in the next few days.
A notable omission from Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad, O'Leary has battled a succession of injuries since being ruled out of the British & Irish Lions' tour to South Africa in 2011 and more recently lost his provincial place to Conor Murray. However, he was back on domestic duty in Munster's 35-14 victory over Treviso on Saturday night.
A key member of the Munster squad for the past seven years, it is understood his latest contract offer from the current PRO12 champions is not centrally-funded by the Irish Rugby Football Union as previously. The Irish Times also reports Perpignan have tabled what is believed to be a more lucrative financial package. "Tomás has not signed any contract yet - he'll make a decision this week," his agent Niall Woods told the newspaper.
One interested observer is set to be provincial rival Peter Stringer who is currently on loan with Aviva Premiership side Saracens. The 35-year-old is out of contract at Munster at the end of the season and his short-term deal with Sarries ends next month with a decision on O'Leary's future set to be pivotal in deciding his own playing future.
"Saracens are very pleased with the job Peter has done, especially guiding their young scrumhalf [Ben] Spencer but their two injured nines are back again and that was the deal," said his agent John Baker. "His Munster contract is up in June. There has been no new offer from them as yet."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament