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Wednesday 7 December 2016

O'Connell: We only have a slim chance of winning the World Cup'

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell, centre, would be a great addition at Toulon, according to wing Drew Mitchell
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell, centre, would be a great addition at Toulon, according to wing Drew Mitchell

Captain Paul O'Connell rates Ireland "a slim chance" to win the World Cup.

"We're put under a lot of pressure in how we prepare for games and it kind of takes away the distraction of the bigger picture," he said.

"I think going into this one we know that if we do a whole load of things right between now and the World Cup, we can put ourselves in with a chance.

"It's a slim chance. It's an outside chance," he added.

There was a carefully conceived game-by-game plan to pour luke warm water over Ireland's prospects in the last two Six Nations, all for good reason too.

"I just think it's a good way of approaching the competition, it's a good way of approaching things," stated O'Connell.

"It has worked really well for us in the last 18 months under Joe (Schmidt), not getting too obsessed with the bigger picture and focusing in the here and now."

READ MORE: Paul O'Connell on retirement: 'Maybe one more year'

For sure, there is an element of being burned in 2007 when the players made many rods for their backs by outwardly talking up their shot at making history when Ireland hadn't even made a semi-final.

"I think certainly in 2007 we got engulfed in the expectation of the World Cup and we felt we had to say we had a chance of winning it to make ourselves believe it."

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