O’Connell contract talks with Munster at ‘delicate stage’

Ireland captain Paul O’Connell wants to continue playing beyond the 2015 World Cup but has admitted negotiations over a new contract with Munster are at a “delicate” stage.

On the day his province announced they had secured the services of fellow British & Irish Lions star Conor Murray on a two-year IRFU contract through to June 2016, the 34-year-old lock said he was hopeful of signing a new deal like the scrum-half 10 years his junior but intimated he was still undecided about where his future lies.

Asked if he would follow Murray and commit his future to Munster, O’Connell said: “Hopefully, look, my contract – I’m trying to figure out my future at the moment and it is kind of delicate. It’s not something I want to discuss.

“But I’m delighted Conor has signed up with Munster. He is a great player for us, a big leader in terms of how he trains and plays — a great guy to have around, a modest, quiet fella and I’m delighted he has re-signed.”

O’Connell added he was not sure how many seasons he had left but said he wants to play beyond the 2015 World Cup.

“I’d probably like to play up to the next World Cup and that season as well. I’d see where I am after that,” he said. “If the body is in good shape I’d like to keep going after that. I enjoy it more than ever, I enjoy the training more than ever, which is probably one of the most important things with guys I’ve seen coming to retirement.

“They are enjoying the matches and the big days, but not necessarily the training and the preparation that goes into it. That’s one of the parts of the game I probably enjoy more than ever. The bit of trying to improve.

It isn’t easy in some of ways because in rugby you have so many things to prepare for with scrum, lineout, defence and attack, that individually you don’t get a whole lot of time to work on your own game. So trying to figure that out is a really enjoyable part of the game. Hopefully I’ll play that season to the World Cup and after the World Cup I’ll see.”


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