O’Connell in awe of Ireland team

Forwards coach Paul O'Connell during an Ireland rugby media conference at Tours Town Hall in Tours, France. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

FOUR-TIME World Cup veteran and current Ireland Forwards Coach Paul O’Connell reckons our team in France is the country’s best ever.

“We’ve players that are able to figure things out really quickly. We can come up with something and they will adapt it to their game quickly.

“That’s the biggest thing I’ve found since I’ve come back into the Irish set-up two years ago, the smarts of the players is a real strength of theirs.

“They’re further down the track than any Irish team I played in, for sure,” enthused legendary O’Connell.

He continued: “There’s still bits and pieces the players are looking to show in the game, both individually and as a team. And they get quite excited about showing that in a game, not necessarily winning a game.

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“It’s something that Andy manages quite well. It’s something that (performance coach) Gary Keegan manages well and the senior players manage it well as well, trying to stay focused week to week. I’m sure they think about going deeper into the competition very often, but they’d be good to be getting back to neutral and to focusing on what’s ahead of them then.”

Dave Kilcoyne of UL Bohemian has been ruled out of Ireland’s opener against Romania, the lowest ranked team at Rugby World Cup 2023, in Bordeaux on Saturday (2.30pm, Virgin Media Television).