RugbyPass revealed last Thursday that seasoned Ireland international Sean O’Brien was on his way to London Irish at the end of this year’s World Cup in Japan, a revelation confirmed by both clubs on Monday.
RugbyPass can reveal that Ireland and Leinster backrow Sean O'Brien is on the move ?? https://t.co/XwpcQABC40
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 7, 2019
It’s believed that Fardy, who turns 35 this summer, wants to remain on in Ireland. However, with the IRFU seldom keen on keeping big money players on its books as they near the end of their careers, a switch to Wasps could be seen as good business even though it would potentially leave Leinster short of second row and blindside cover while Irish Test players are away at the World Cup.
Leinster have form for losing popular veteran locks. Nathan Hines was previously moved on unceremoniously when the province were previously winning European Cups.
Fellow Australian Fardy, who linked up with Leinster in 2017 after six Super Rugby seasons at the Brumbies, was an integral part of the Irish province’s first-choice line-up en route to Champions Cup and PRO14 titles last May.
However, whereas he started seven of Leinster’s nine European games last term, including the final in Bilbao against Racing 92, he has slipped down the pecking order this season and has made just a single European start in six matches under his belt. His other three appearances have come off the bench.
Fardy’s stint in Ireland hasn’t been helped by the restrictive foreigner rule governing overseas players from Australia and New Zealand, an issue that has left Leo Cullen having to choose two of Fardy, James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park in his match day 23.
That regulatory problem will be resolved later this year when Kiwi Gibson-Park becomes Irish eligible under the three-year residency rule. However, that development could come too late to keep Fardy on the books at Leinster.
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