Toulon confirm capture of Paul O’Connell on a one-year deal

European champions also sign South Africa back-rower Duane Vermeulen and former England international Matt Stevens

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell will join Toulon after leading Ireland at the Rugby World Cup Photo: Jason O'Callaghan

Ireland captain will join European Champions Toulon on a two-year deal after the Rugby World Cup.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal revealed the Limerick man, who has 101 Ireland caps to his name, will head to the Stade Mayol on a one-year deal with an option for another year as he unveiled the latest recruits from his all-star shopping list according to reports in France.

The 35-year-old lock had agreed an early release from his contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union and Munster with his last game for his province coming in their Guinness PRO12 final defeat to Glasgow Warriors on 30 May.

Ahead of the Top 14 transfer window deadline on Monday night, the French club also confirmed the capture of former England prop Matt Stevens and South Africa number eight Duane Vermeulen from the Stormers.

Stevens, 32, heads to the south of France on a two-year deal after a season in Super Rugby with the Cell C Sharks.

The 46-times capped England international spent seven seasons at Bath before he was banned for two years for testing positive for cocaine and released from his contract.

After his ban, he spent three seasons at Saracens with his penultimate game for the London club coming in their defeat to Toulon in the 2014 Heineken Cup final.

Back-row forward Vermeulen, 28, who was nominated for World Player of the Year award in 2014, will head to Toulon on a three-year deal.

The big-spending club, who failed to defend their Top 14 title this season, have already confirmed the capture of Australian international trio Salesi Ma’afu, Quade Cooper and James O’Connor, American Samnu Manoa, and All Black star Ma’a Nonu.

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