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Paul O'Connell can bask in tribute from Victor Matfield

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Paul O'Connell, Ireland, contests a line-out against Victor Matfield, South Africa

Paul O'Connell, Ireland, contests a line-out against Victor Matfield, South Africa

SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Ireland, contests a line-out against Victor Matfield, South Africa

So Victor Matlock thinks Paul O'Connell is the best player he has ever played against.

South Africa's talismanic lock has faced the best of the best and he puts the Irish legend at the top of the pile.

For a pre-game press conference for November Internationals, even the top five would have sufficed.

Does he not realise the Irish propensity for craving acceptance. Even tacit will do?

But Matlock went all the way and pronounced O'Connell to be in a league of his own.

It's a team sport and you won't find Paul O' Connell basking in his own glow.

But it lands.

Here's a guy that stood the best of them down. His knowledge of the game runs deeper than the masses can possibly dream of.

He has chiselled out cracks in men that epitomised unbreakable, but O'Connell earned paramount respect.

The professional era has brought success in many forms, but you can be sure the man beneath the pro was grateful for that one.

Irish Independent