Paul O’Connell on the biggest change in rugby players since he played


The word legend is sometimes thrown around a bit loosely in rugby, and sport in general, but if there was ever a man deserving of that monicker, it’s Paul O’Connell.

O’Connell is one of the game’s all-time greats, having captained Munster, Ireland, and the British and Irish Lions, picking up multiple trophies and accolades along the way.

These days he’s coaching one of the best teams on the planet, having just helped steer Ireland to their second successive Six Nations championship.

But O’Connell has some regrets from his playing career.

Speaking to The Times, O’Connell says he wished he had the kind of relationship players have now compared to what he was a part of.

“I think it’s a lot more connected,” O’Connell said of the game now.

“It’s a relationship-based style of leadership now. I think players are generally happier and they look after each other.

“We were quite tough on each other because we thought that was the way it had to be, that we had to hold each other to high standards. Sometimes too tough.

“Whereas I think players now still [hold high standards], but they never do it in a way that embarrasses or humiliates someone. We did that a little bit when I played and I regret some of that.

“I enjoy how players are encouraged to interact and to lead one another now.”

Follow Me