Ireland lock Paul O’Connell eyes fourth World Cup

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell says he wants to play at a fourth World Cup after coming back from an injury-hit campaign

paul o'connell
Paul O'Connell has 85 Ireland caps Photo: e_mulvey, via Flickr

Paul O’Connell admits he is already eyeing up a fourth Rugby World Cup appearance despite just waving goodbye to a campaign that saw him a regular visitor to the operator’s table.

The 33-year-old was part of his third Lions tour as he travelled with Warren Gatland’s troops to Australia.

And although the Lions won the series O’Connell on-pitch involvement was restricted to just the first test as he fractured an arm late on in the 23-21 victory over the Wallabies.

The treatment table had been a familiar sight to O’Connell last season as he missed the majority of Munster’s campaign with a back injury – including Ireland’s 2013 Six Nations assault.

O’Connell had previously stated that his troublesome back had him contemplating retirement but after leaving Australia as a Lions tour winner the Irishman insists all those thoughts have been blown away.

“There are always fears of retirement in the back of your head, especially coming into the surgery but once I got the confidence from the medical staff, I felt good about it all,” O’Connell told the Irish Independent.

“Some days I would have had those fears and other days I wouldn’t have. The thing with the back was that it wasn’t bad enough to get an operation all along, it was so close to coming right.

“Day to day I hardly noticed I had it and it was only when I went back training and playing I felt it. It was my second back operation so that was a bit of a worry. But once I got it, the surgeon was so confident afterwards it was going to be fine, I was delighted.

“The way the Lions tour went, I felt very good. Warren Gatland runs very short training sessions, high-intensity training sessions, which suits me down to the ground. I hope to make the World Cup in 2015.”

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