Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien agrees to stay with Leinster
Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien has decided to stay on with three-times Heineken Cup winners Leinster.
O'Brien, who was part of the Lions squad that toured Australia last year, had been linked with a move to France.
Newspaper reports suggested the 26-year-old was on the verge of joining European champions Toulon.
However, on Thursday the Irish Rugby Football Union announced that O'Brien had signed a new two-year contract with Leinster.
O'Brien is likely to miss Ireland's Six Nations campaign as he is recovering after an operation on a shoulder injury.
However, his decision to stay with Leinster is good news for the IRFU, which has been working hard to keep its best players under central contracts after fly-half Jonny Sexton's high-profile move to Racing Metro last summer.
Leinster number eight Jamie Heaslip, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move to Toulon, has yet to agree a new deal.
O'Brien said that he had made the decision to remain at home "based on the standard mix of professional and personal considerations".
"It was a very difficult decision but with a World Cup next year and the fact that I believe Leinster can continue to win trophies, I have decided to commit my immediate future to the club," said the Carlow man.
"(And) I am very excited about what Ireland can achieve under Joe Schmidt."