Friday 28 October 2016

Colm Parkinson: Toulon should utilise Paulie's vast knowledge in coaching role

Colm Parkinson

Published 11/02/2016 | 02:30

Toulon could do a lot worse than tapping into O'Connell's rugby brain and experience. Photo: Sportsfile
Toulon could do a lot worse than tapping into O'Connell's rugby brain and experience. Photo: Sportsfile

Considering the extent of his hamstring injury, it wasn;t really a surprise when Paul O'Connell announced his retirement. It really was a horrific injury - his hamstring completely tore off the bone.

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I mentioned on this page after the incident happened that given his age, it would be really difficult for him to continue playing.

Kerry footballer Tommy Walsh tore all three tendons at the top of his hamstring, leaving it attached to nothing, while playing with the Sydney Swans two years ago and missed a full season of action.

At 36 Paulie doesn't really have the time to invest in the long road to recovery from such a severe injury and then get back to a level of fitness and form required for the Champions Cup and Top 14.

The pressure on rugby players' hamstrings must be enormous. Outside of the normal pressures like sprinting, the jackal position used by players at the breakdown must put them under extreme strain. Never mind the scrum where Paulie would spend so much of his time in training and matches.


It's a pity he didn't get to finish his career in the south of France, as he mentioned it's something he and his family were really looking forward to. Maybe a coaching role with Toulon could be on the cards? They could do a lot worse than tapping into his rugby brain and experience.

From scoring a try on his Ireland debut to a career-ending injury in the World Cup, Paulie has left some mark on Irish rugby. He transcended the Munster-Leinster rivalry because of the standing and respect he had in the game.

Everyone will have their favourite moments from his career. From playing on with a broken arm on the last Lions tour of Australia to his famous 'put the fear of God into them' speech, Paul has been a giant, literally, of Irish rugby. Thanks for all the memories Paulie.

Irish Independent

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