Paul O’Connell’s experience still vital ahead of Twickenham test

Paul O’Connell’s experience still vital ahead of Twickenham test

Andrew Trimble once revealed that he always loved listening to Paul O’Connell during the week of an Ireland-England game, how O’Connell invariably had something special to say and it always had the desired effect.

“He never lets you down during an England week,” said Trimble. “He’s massively motivated and that inspiration filtered through. Everybody was unbelievably up for it.”

It’s doubtful that O’Connell, in his guise as Ireland’s forwards coach, reinvokes the “manic aggression” he called for before Ireland hosted England at Croke Park in 2srcsrc7 with a performance which Andy Farrell subsequently described as “certainly a highlight in my career, even though I was on the wrong side of it”.

One imagines O’Connell is more cerebral and more tactical nowadays. But in a dozen Test starts against England, he was on the winning side eight times, including a respectable three wins and three defeats at Twickenham.

“It is a very tough place to go to,” O’Connell said yesterday. “It’s a massive stadium. In fairness, there is a great atmosphere there and they do react well to the team playing well.

“My experiences there were good and bad. We took some bad beatings there but we had some great days there as well. It’s probably no different to Paris for us. It’s something that some guys have to acknowledge, that they haven’t a lot of experience of these away games in hostile environments where the opposition might get on top of you for a little while.

“Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that that is going to happen and use your smarts to ride it out, and the

…. to be continued
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