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Saturday 19 August 2017

The end is near for Paulie

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

"It could have been. I just don't know yet. I'm undecided," he said.

"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.

"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.

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."

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