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Saturday 19 August 2017

Paul O'Connell: This might be the end of the line for me

Ireland hero undecided as to plans for future career

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell

Paul O'Connell has refused to confirm this will be his final Six Nations campaign.

"It could have been. I just don't know yet. I'm undecided," he said after yesterday's momentous victory over England.

"I really want to play to the World Cup and be in the best shape I can there. And I'll see after that."

He was willing to go as far as commit it would be his last Six Nations match at home to England.

Read More: Paul O'Connell: Wales will be the big test for us

"There's no point in codding myself too much," he laughed.

There is a sense of misfortune that Schmidt has come into his playing career towards the end.

There is rugby chemistry there. For all their differences, there are many similarities.

TAKE HEART

For the moment, O'Connell will take heart from his eighth career victory over England.

"We built it up as a really big game for us," he said.

"It was right up there with as big a challenge we've had since Joe has taken over, right up there with the New Zealand game.

"To go out and execute, to do so many positive things like we did, particularly in the first-half, gave us a great feeling.

"I never thought I would look up at the scoreboard and it would be 19-3 when I was building up to the game."

O'Connell predicted his side's hardest test will come in Wales in two weeks. Warren Gatland's side are also in with a chance of the title after beating France in Paris on Saturday night and O'Connell expects a huge occasion at the Millennium Stadium on March 14.

"It's probably going to be our hardest day of the championship, away from home is obviously harder," O'Connell said.

"They've put themselves in with a chance with a big win over in Paris so it's going to be incredibly difficult.

"Our first-half discipline was very good and the first 20 minutes of the second half was excellent.

"Our out-half kicked very well and got the points and we played a lot of great rugby.

"The setback was a bit disappointing but I've got a lot of respect for this England team, to beat them we're delighted.

"The try gave us massive breathing space. Our discipline got those points on the board and when you can tag a try onto that it's a long way back for the other team."

 

IRELAND V ENGLAND: REACTION

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