Sunday 15 December 2019

O'Connell unsure over his World Cup role for Ireland

Paul O'Connell is to take stock of his fitness and future
Paul O'Connell is to take stock of his fitness and future
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Paul O'Connell says there are no guarantees he'll make it through to next year's World Cup as he takes stock of his health, fitness and future on a month-to-month basis.

The Ireland captain is enjoying his first full pre-season since the summer of 2011 after a relatively injury-free campaign when leading his side to the Six Nations.

Next year's tournament remains a key target for the 34-year-old, but he acknowledges that the attritional nature of the modern game could count against him between now and September 19 next year when Ireland kick off their campaign against Canada in Cardiff.

The Munster second-row's current contract runs until the end of the 2015/16 season and he has yet to put a definitive date on when he intends to retire.

"It's month to month," he said.

"Look, I'd love to go to the World Cup, but it's something you only want to do if you're in really good shape.

"I'd love to go there as well with two big pre-seasons, if I could get there with that, I'd know I'd be in really good shape.

"But the game is becoming tougher, it's going to be really hard in the Autumn Internationals and in the Six Nations, so the World Cup for me is a long way away.

"It's really about managing my body as best I can," he added.

Irish Independent

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