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Reds rout led by O'Connell

PAUL O'CONNELL came back with a bang for Munster at the weekend as the hosts saw off Connacht at Thomond Park 22-0.

It was the lock's third game for the province this season and his first in almost seven months following a back operation, besides a game and a half at 'A' level. He managed the full 80 minutes, but also had the added bonus of adding his first try in four seasons, getting over the line in the opening 10 minutes.

The mission for the second row is to squeeze into the Lions reckoning, and clearly there isn't too much wrong with his conditioning. He was blowing hard by the end but, having made a big contribution, lasting the distance was an achievement.

If he gets through the Glasgow assignment next weekend he will be all the better for it, but for his team the climb towards the play-off places is pretty steep. They need a collapse up ahead from The Scarlets or Ospreys if they are to claw back the seven-point gap.