Tuesday 25 April 2017

Paul O'Connell reveals why he wanted to 'knock out' Alastair Campbell during Lions Tour

Paul O'Connell reveals why he wanted to 'knock out' Alastair Campbell during Lions Tour
Paul O'Connell reveals why he wanted to 'knock out' Alastair Campbell during Lions Tour

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Paul O'Connell has admitted Joe Schmidt was the greatest standard setter he played under across his illustrious career.

In the immediate aftermath of the defeat to New Zealand in 2013, the former Ireland captain was expecting a rollicking from Schmidt because of the manner in which they allowed the All Blacks to score a last-gasp try that dashed their hopes of an historic first victory.

O'Connell's autobiography 'The Battle' will be released on Thursday and in extracts from the book in a Sunday newspaper, the Limerick native gave a fascinating insight into Schmidt's mindset.

"Just as it started, I could sense he was about to go to town on us. The whole meeting was about the try we conceded at the end. So much of what we delivered in those last minutes was not up to the standards that were demanded of us and we demanded of each other.

"Joe was holding us to a very high, exacting level, no matter the scoreline. He was setting the tone for the following week's training and performance. At the end, just as we felt we'd had the s**t kicked out of us, he said: 'Lads - fair play! An outstanding result! I was very happy but this try - every single error here is easily fixed. Imagine where we can go to.' "At the end of the meeting, I was sitting there and thinking: when it comes to coaching, this is the standard."

O'Connell also admitted that he wanted to punch Alastair Campbell during the 2005 Lions tour after he questioned the players' commitment during a speech before the second test against New Zealand.

"On the training pitch the following morning, I was still thinking about Alastair's few words and getting more and more p****d off. I decided what I was going to do when the session was over: find Alastair and knock him out."

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