Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cudmore plays down O'Connell bad blood

Canada captain Jamie Cudmore insists that he isn’t concerned with his previous battles with Paul O’Connell
Canada captain Jamie Cudmore insists that he isn’t concerned with his previous battles with Paul O’Connell
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Canada captain Jamie Cudmore insists that he isn't concerned with his previous battles with Paul O'Connell

The pair infamously clashed in 2008 when Munster took on Clermont Auvergne at Thomond Park, with Cudmore sent off - and landing a five-week ban - while O'Connell was yellow-carded.

"It's something that I don't really concentrate on - one person in particular. We're always looking at how a team plays in general," said the Canuck enforcer.

"I never really concentrate on one person, per se. Nobody wants to be known as a goon, right? I think my record speaks for myself. Sure, I've done some stupid things on the field but a lot of people have too.

"He's a world-class player and it's always great to play against world-class opposition."

At 37, Cudmore remains a central figure in Clermont's side but it's a different scenario coming up against Ireland without the array of stars he plays alongside at club level.

"It's pretty hard to compare. It's a different skill level, different personnel, definitely," the second-row acknowledged.

"But what we lack in those areas, we definitely make up for with a lot of passion and a lot of aggression.

Now in his 11th year in France, Cudmore has started his own wine company and he revealed that he presented O'Connell with a special bottle following Clermont's win over Munster in the Champions Cup last season.

"It's something myself and my wife put together last year. We're very proud and happy to work with local producers," he said.

"The Auvergne is not known for its wine. It was a long time ago but we had a bit of tongue in cheek and named it 'Sin Bin' with my history.

"My wife asked me to get a couple of yellow and red cards just to do a bit of marketing!

"It's a pet project for us and it's a good drop as well. We've got a red, white and rose.

"Last year, after the Munster game in Clermont, I gave Paul a bottle of yellow and me a bottle of red.

"It was tongue in cheek for 2008!"

Irish Independent

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