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Toulon dismiss O'Connell reports

Published 21/04/2015

Toulon have dismissed reports claiming they have signed Ireland captain Paul O'Connell
Toulon have dismissed reports claiming they have signed Ireland captain Paul O'Connell

European champions Toulon have dismissed reports that Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has signed a contract with them.

Toulon were heavily linked with 35-year-old O'Connell in the aftermath of Sunday's European Champions Cup semi-final victory over Leinster in Marseille.

At least one local newspaper on the Cote d'Azur reported apparent interest in 101 times-capped lock O'Connell, who is set to retire from Test rugby after the World Cup later this year.

O'Connell would fit in with Toulon's established reputation under their multi-millionaire president Mourad Boudjellal of signing world stars.

Former players include England 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson, New Zealand's dual code international Sonny Bill Williams, South Africa Test lock Victor Matfield and ex-Australia flanker George Smith.

And their current squad features the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, Bryan Habana and Matt Giteau, with Boudjellal's spending capacity showing no sign of abating.

But in a statement posted on the club's official website on Tuesday, Toulon moved to distance themselves from a swoop for Munster's three-time British and Irish Lions tourist O'Connell.

"The Rugby Club Toulon, accustomed to all sorts of rumours about future potential recruits, holds still to deny what some see as information - namely the signing of the second-row Paul O'Connell" the club said.

"The Rugby Club Toulon cautions that Paul O'Connell has not signed a contract with Toulon Rugby Club, and the alleged contacts between the player and the 'Red and Black' are pure speculation."

Toulon's 25-20 extra-time win against Leinster booked a Champions Cup final appointment with fellow French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham on May 2, with Toulon chasing an unprecedented European title hat-trick.

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