Paul O'Connell: Forward set to complete move to Toulon

Paul O'Connell in action for Munster against Edinburgh earlier this month
Paul O'Connell's current Munster contract is scheduled to finish at the end of next season

Paul O'Connell is expected to complete a two-year deal to join European champions Toulon after the World Cup, following Saturday's Pro12 final.

The 35-year-old second row has a dual Munster and Ireland contract which runs until summer 2016.

It is thought that he will be able to free himself from the final stages of that commitment however.

O'Connell will play for Munster for the final time in Saturday's Pro12 final against Glasgow in Belfast.

Ireland's oldest captain of all time will lead Joe Schmidt's men in the autumn World Cup in England, but is set to head to Toulon at the completion of the tournament.

O'Connell has led Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations titles in the last two years under former Leinster coach Schmidt, and had been expected to retire entirely after the World Cup.

Despite previous denials, Toulon have been keen to recruit the Irish lineout master to boost their lock options following the retirements of Bakkies Botha and Ali Williams.

Former Ireland skipper Keith Wood backed O'Connell for a lucrative move to the three-time European champions that would end his 14-year stint with home province Munster.

Paul O'Connell factfile
1979: Born, 20 October, Limerick
2001: Makes Munster debut against Edinburgh
2002: Wins first Ireland cap against Wales
2005: Earns first British & Lions cap against New Zealand
2006: Helps Munster win the province's first Heineken Cup title
2008: Captains Munster to another Heineken Cup title
2009: Helps Ireland win Grand Slam and captains Lions against Springboks
2013: Injured in First Test against Australia and misses rest of tour
2014: Captains Ireland to Six Nations title
2015: Leads Ireland to another Six Nations title

"He's a guy who loves the south of France, he got married in the south of France," explained Wood.

"He enjoys the place, he enjoys the culture.

"I know he was envious of what Jonny (Wilkinson) got out of it, not in terms of the finances.

"Of course the finances are always part of it but it was almost like the fresh breath of energy he got back into it."

O'Connell has won 101 Ireland caps in addition to making 173 appearances for the Irish province since his debut in 2001.

The Limerick native has also played on three British & Irish Lions tours.

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.

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