Clermont Auvergne lock Jamie Cudmore paid generous tribute to his old rival ahead of Paul O’Connell’s 100th appearance for Ireland.
“If I have to pick one word for him then it would have to be gentleman. He embodies the ethos of rugby and how it should be played,” said the Canadian, one of several leading figures in the game to offer rich compliments for O’Connell in Saturday’s Examiner Sport.
“I don’t remember the first time I played against him,” continued Cudmore, “I think it may have been for Canada against Ireland but I do know that we have had some battles over the years; certainly one in 2008 when I was unjustly sent off and a couple more recently, this season.
“But every time, no matter what has happened out there, he is the first to chat afterwards.”
“I make my own wine, one is Red Card and one is Yellow Card.
“When Munster lost in Clermont he was still up for having a photo with me and the two bottles. He is a true gentleman; we ended up having a long talk about life in general that day.
“That is what I love about rugby, that even in this professional age you can stretch beyond your club or your country and make connections with people. I gave him a couple of bottles of wine which I hope will help to keep that rugby ethos flowing.”
No sour grapes from the Munster powerhouse.
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