O'Connell eyes 2015 World Cup
July 12, 2013
Ireland lock Paul O'Connell saw his Lions tour ended early by a broken arm © Getty Images
Veteran Ireland lock Paul O'Connell has set his sights on appearing at what would be a fourth Rugby World Cup in 2015.
The 33-year-old, who recently saw his third British & Irish Lions tour ended prematurely by fractured arm, has admitted he contemplated retirement last season as he struggled to overcome a back injury but has since returned to fitness and remains hungry for internationals honours.
"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."
O'Connell is hoping to return to action in October ahead of Ireland's end of year campaign but has played down the suggestion that new coach Joe Schmidt may hand him the captaincy instead of No.8 Jamie Heaslip.
"I honestly don't know," he said. "There's a big demand mentally. It's something I'd have to give a lot of thought to. I know certainly on this Lions tour, I enjoyed not being captain. It allows you to focus on yourself and get your game right. Jamie did a lot better job than he was given credit for with Ireland."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action
The latest Week in Pictures takes in some original ways of welcoming teams to the field and plenty of tries from the European Champions Cup