Thursday 19 January 2017

Paul O'Connell reveals training ground woes with Munster

Harry Clarke

Published 11/10/2016 | 20:48

Munster fans applaud Paul O’Connell from Thomond Park for the last time. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster fans applaud Paul O’Connell from Thomond Park for the last time. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul O'Connell has revealed how tough it was for him to criticise Munster players during the latter stages of his career.

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O'Connell is well-known for his leadership and authority on the pitch and on the training ground but the former Ireland captain admits that sometimes he was left "giving out to himself for giving out to others" when Munster struggled on the pitch.

"When you have a row with someone at training, it's hard to head home in the evening and feel good about it, especially if it is a young guy. I always felt it was done for the right reasons..it's a hard one to explain," said O'Connell on Off The Ball on Newstalk tonight.

"I always had an opinion on what we should be doing. It was very tough to be so used to winning with Munster to go through that period where we were really struggling and then you look back - it definitely wasn't as good as it was.

"But when you do look back, you always look back with rose-tinted glasses. It was something that I struggled with, arguing with people at training and then being at home in the evening with Emily where I would almost be giving out to myself for giving out to someone. I know they are doing their best..it is a difficult one to explain.

"I think towards the end I got better at that. You almost wanted someone else really unreasonable to be coming up behind me."

O'Connell also revealed how he feels rugby has changed since he began his professional career.

"If you look at a rugby match now, there's no foul play whatsoever," added O'Connell.

"That's one thing that World Rugby has completely eradicated from the game. It used to be part and parcel to the game. If two guys dig the head off each other, the referee would make them shake hands and go back and play.

"But now that's a red card all day and night and you'll get a long suspension. But when I started, it wasn't like that."

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