Cardiff conversation that proved Paul O'Connell always put the team first
"I always remember thinking, ‘Flip, that just shows the mark of the man’."
Paul O'Connell was earmarked for captaincy of Munster and Ireland from an early age. Although he did not succeed Anthony Foley as Munster captain until 2007, he had already led Ireland out in the Six Nations three years prior.
The Limerick native would go on to lead Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions with distinction before retiring in 2016. As anyone who has captained an elite team will tell you, it can be all-consuming and there can be a tendency for form to dip while the player is juggling so many commitments.
On the latest episode of House of Rugby Ireland, former Ulster and Ireland centre Darren Cave shared a brilliant tale from the 2015 World Cup about how Paul O'Connell was a captain that believed a team would only succeed if everyone was pulling in the same direction.
LISTEN to the full Darren Cave story (from 46:10 below) and hear how O'Connell's final moments as an Ireland player were so fitting a selfless leader.
"I absolutely loved the guy," Cave declared. "I think the sun shines out of his arse. I just think he’s an absolute national treasure!"
We think everyone can agree on that one. Anyone who still needs convincing, here are 56 convincing reasons. Also covered on the show this week:
- Munster's nail-biting win over Connacht in Galway
- Leinster remind everyone in Ireland, and the Guinness PRO14, what they're about
- European rugby matches in doubt and possible Guinness Six Nations delays
- Darren Cave on his 240-match professional career and what he has been up to since retirement
WATCH THAT EPISODE HERE:
SUBSCRIBE TO HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND HERE
Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O'Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu, Schalk Burger, Dan Leo, James Lowe, Marcell Coetzee, Ciaran Griffin, Ian Keatley and Darren Cave.