Saturday 3 December 2016

Paul stays red to the core in retirement

David Wallace

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

Paul O'Connell: He brought a great approach to his training, the way he mentally and physically prepared for games was immense and it rubbed off on everyone around him (SPORTSFILE)
Paul O'Connell: He brought a great approach to his training, the way he mentally and physically prepared for games was immense and it rubbed off on everyone around him (SPORTSFILE)

The very best wishes to Paul O'Connell on his retirement from the game. What a career he had - just look at the amount of trophies he won and what he achieved.

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Reflecting on all our victories for Munster and Ireland, he was the lead instigator of all those big wins. Without him we would have barely scratched the surface and that's the truth.

He brought a great approach to his training, the way he mentally and physically prepared for games was immense and it rubbed off on everyone around him. He came into Munster like a wild stallion and quickly became a leader. He challenged everyone - both players and coaches - to be better at their jobs and his meteoric rise into Ireland camp, and later into the Lions, was no surprise to anyone.

What is often overlooked is that Paul was a fantastic athlete as well. At six-and-a-half foot tall, his standard of sprinting, weights and box jumps was excellent.

When everyone saw the injury we felt it was going to be a difficult road back for him, but you'd put your money on him to do it. I'm sorry that he'll miss the couple of years in Toulon, but maybe it's a good thing. He now retires a purely Munster player.

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