Paul O’Connell admits he is unsure whether or not he will resume a career in professional coaching following a spell at Stade Français that he described as “disappointing.”
After retiring from the professional game following the 2015 World Cup, O’Connell linked up with Noel McNamara and the Irish Under-20s as an assistant coach in 2018.
However, the following summer he joined the Top 14 club as a forwards coach.
His time in France didn’t last, though. The former Munster, Ireland and Lions captain leaving Stade Français by mutual consent at the end of last season.
Speaking on RTE 2fm’s Game On, O’Connell admitted the original plan was to remain in France for three years to figure out whether or not a career in coaching would be for him.
“I was delighted to go to Stade Français and the plan was to stay there for three years. Unfortunately, there were things in the club I didn’t like and I felt I couldn’t stay,” he said.
“That’s a bit of a disappointment. Three years in France, living and coaching, it would have been a perfect experience and I would be in full knowledge whether coaching is something I wanted to do for another 20 years or not.
O’Connell later admitted he was not sure whether or not he would resume his coaching career in the future.
“I’m still a little uncertain. I don’t really know.”
On life in France, O’Connell admitted that the working hours were a challenge and that the job was “very, very intense”.
“The work hours are absolutely massive when you are coaching. With a game on Saturday, you are gone all day, with maybe six hours of video work on the Sunday. You are in very early Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and finishing late because you have to be able to prepare a training session or video session that the players enjoy and engage in.
“I’m sure over time you get better and quicker at it, but that took me a long time to do. It was a very, very intense job. It’s enjoyable, but trying to find family time and being healthy is the challenge.”
Ireland are set to begin life under Andy Farrell this coming weekend and O’Connell is well-placed to give his opinion on the current national side as he worked with Farrell on the 2013 Lions tour.
The Munster legend has backed Farrell to excel in his role.
“Andy Farrell is a very smart guy and a brilliant communicator, great with people,” O’Connell said.
“The 2013 Lions tour I really enjoyed because it was my first time ever really understanding line speed. It was Andy that used to coach that. He had a brilliant way of communicating in a positive manner.
“I think our forwards will pass the ball a bit more and I think it will be an exciting time.”