Sean O’Brien would have stayed at Leinster for just £112k a year, the Irish flanker has suggested.
In a wide ranging interview with Peter O’Reilly in Sunday Times, O’Brien admits his reluctance to leave his his home province and the club he has played all his professioanl rugby with.
As first reported RugbyPass in February, the Carlow born backrow will join London Irish on a three-year deal, on a reported salary of £450k, as they look to re-establish themselves in the Premiership in 2019/20.
However, O’Brien comments suggest he wanted to stay at Leinster and would have done for a fraction of the what he will be paid at the London based club.
‘If I was offered a quarter of the money I’m getting going to London Irish to here, I would have stayed. That was the case, but I’m going to grab the opportunity with both hands, obviously, and do whatever I can over there.’
This suggests that whatever was on the table from the IRFU and Leinster, if an offer was made, was less than £112,000 per annum (€131,000).
‘Would I say now that I’d be bitter? No, I’m not bitter because I get the business decision,’ he said. ‘While I mightn’t agree with them, I still get them. That’s life.’
O’Brien’s final years at Leinster have been dogged by numerous injuries, with the flanker making just 22 appearances in the last three seasons.
2?? British & Irish Lions tours
5??4?? Ireland caps
4?? Champions Cup titles
1??2??2?? appearances for Leinster
4?? Pro 14 titles
— London Irish (@LiRFC) February 11, 2019
The 32 year old is one of Leinster’s most decorated players, having come through the Leinster Academy system and having played 122 times for Leinster since his debut in September 2008 against the Cardiff Blues.
In his time at Leinster he was part of the PRO12 winning squads in 2008, 2013 and 2014 as well as the Guinness PRO14 win last season.
He has four Heineken Champions Cup medals, starting in the Heineken Cup Finals of 2011 and 2012, and also a Challenge Cup medal in 2013.
Off the back of these impressive performances in the blue of Leinster, he was named European Player of the Year in 2011.
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