Heineken Cup 2014: Rob Penney hails Paul O’Connell after Munster win

Heineken Cup 2014: Munster head coach Rob Penney hails Paul O'Connell after his side beat Gloucester

paul o'connell
Ireland and Munster star Paul O'Connell Photo: e_mulvey, via Flickr

Rob Penney admits Paul O’Connell’s presence was pivotal in helping his side to emerge winners in their European clash with Gloucester on Saturday.

The 34-year-old, who has 88 caps for Ireland, was at his inspirational best to help Munster book a quarter-final berth in the Heineken Cup.

Tries from wing Keith Earls and skipper Peter O’Mahony, plus ten points from the boot of fly-half Ian Keatley, secured Munster top spot in Pool 6.

But Penney reserved special praise for his lock, who has made just four RaboDirect PRO12 appearances so far this season.

“Paul is just such an amazing character, and at this level of the game you wouldn’t want anyone else out there, really, guarding your ship,” Penney told the Irish Times.

Even Gloucester boss Phil Davies couldn’t resist lauding the giant forward. He said: “Paul O’Connell is phenomenal.

“There are certain characters in teams that have a huge influence and effect. It is not just his ability as a rugby player, it’s how he galvanises the team, and his sheer presence is a huge factor for Munster.”

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