Ronan O'Gara: Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien face tough call on future

Last Updated: 15/01/14 7:28pm

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Ronan O'Gara - Extended Interview

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Former Ireland stand-off Ronan O'Gara can see the attraction of a move to French club rugby for Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien - but for differing reasons for each player.

The Leinster flankers are weighing up their options for next season with European champions Toulon among the teams they have been linked with.

O'Gara, who spent his entire playing career with Munster and is now in Paris coaching Racing Metro, thinks it will be a difficult decision for both men, who could yet choose to remain in Ireland.

"Sean O'Brien is 26 and has 30 caps for Ireland, Jamie is 30 and has 60 caps - so you are not comparing like with like," O'Gara told Sky Sports News.

"Jamie is very durable and could easily stand up to it (but) maybe it's the time for him to make the best of his career and what's best for him financially, setting himself up for the future.

"He has given everything to Leinster and Ireland, there comes a time where maybe you think: 'yes I need to do this'. You can perfectly see that. But I think someone like Sean O'Brien, the exact same could apply in four years time, he doesn't need to make the move now.

"But we are not privy to the deals being put on the table. He could set up for a great career when rugby does end.

"I think that's why there is such a song and dance being made about it: because they are wanted.

"These two players will attract the best clubs. Toulon may appeal to them, because there is a cultural change there and it's something they might do. But there are two separate arguments for both of them."

O'Brien is sidelined by a shoulder injury but Heaslip will captain Leinster in Friday's Heineken Cup fixture against the Ospreys, when a win would confirm their place in the quarter-finals.

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