David Rogers Ireland's Paul O'Connell is optimistic about his side's chances at next year's World Cup.

Ireland can win World Cup - Paul O'Connell

Joe Schmidt has enjoyed a fruitful first full year as head coach, guiding his players to Six Nations glory.

IRELAND CAPTAIN PAUL O’Connell believes his team have the potential to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Joe Schmidt has enjoyed a fruitful first full year as Ireland’s head coach, guiding his players to Six Nations glory, before picking up a 2-0 win in a two-match series against Argentina.

Ireland ended the 2014 with victories over South Africa, Georgia and Australia in the November internationals, and O’Connell hopes to maintain that momentum in the build-up to the World Cup.

“We certainly have a chance,” he told Sky Sports. “We have shown that we can beat anyone on our day.

“We still don’t have the strength in depth of the southern hemisphere nations, so there are certain things that will have to go our way — but I think we have the potential to win a World Cup.”

O’Connell also paid tribute to coach Schmidt, adding: ”Joe is an excellent coach and an excellent strategist.

“He is a brilliant communicator too — we are all trying to do the same things on the rugby field; but Joe is able to simplify it and able to get players into the right places on the field where they can use their skillset.

“It is brilliant working with him, every meeting and every training session we learn something new — and you could almost be jealous that Leinster had him for so long.

“The Irish set-up under Joe has been incredible and I want to experience as much of that as I can.”

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