‘I feel I can offer value’ – Paul O’Connell on becoming Ireland forwards coach


“I feel I can offer value.”

Paul O’Connell believes he can “immediately offer value” to the Ireland squad ahead of the Six Nations Championship.

The former Munster captain was named as the new Ireland forwards coach following the autumn campaign, having previously spending a season at Parisian club Stade Francais.

O’Connell had spent some time with the Ireland squad during last year’s Six Nations but told the Irish Examiner he felt that now was the right time to fully commit to the coaching team.

“Andy asked me after the Autumn Nations Cup would I be interested in getting involved. I took a few weeks to think about it and decided it was the right thing for me to do.

“I feel I can offer value. I have an awful lot to learn, certainly, as a coach but I felt I could immediately offer value to the coaching staff and the players.

“And it’s a great opportunity. International coaching is very different, you get that development opportunity, you get a chance to reflect, a chance to improve during the times when you’re not coaching and not stuck in a tournament. But when you’re in a tournament it’s full-on,” O’Connell explained.

Paul O’Connell: ‘I was excited the minute he rang me.’

The former lock retired from rugby following a hamstring injury he sustained against France in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

At 41, O’Connell is on the young side for a coach, but he believes his recent experience in international rugby will help him to coach at the highest level.

“I suppose my recent connection to playing, you could say it’s a bit of a weakness but I think it’s a strength in as well, you’re still clued into what a player feels and how a player learns, and how hard it can be to learn at times and to change a habit.

“So that was it, I was excited the minute he rang me and I think he’s got a really good environment here, the players enjoy it incredibly, they’re very… I suppose there’s a very collaborative approach which I would have seen when I was in with them last year, whenever I speak to the players whenever I’ve met them.

“It’s a great environment to join and the opportunity excited me,” O’Connell said.

Ireland get their Six Nations campaign underway this Sunday when they take on Wales in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Read next – The Ireland team Andy Farrell should pick for Six Nations opener against Wales.

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