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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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The 2017 Lions tour 'definitely' isn't part of Paul O'Connell's plans

The 36-year-old will be focusing on rehabbing his hamstring injury in the short term.

PAUL O’CONNELL SAYS touring New Zealand with the Lions in 2017 “definitely” isn’t part of his plans as he looks towards life after international rugby.

The lock’s Ireland career ended with an horrific hamstring injury against France at the World Cup, with the surgery to re-attach the tendon to the bone leaving O’Connell looking at up to eight months on the sidelines.

Paul O'Connell O'Connell captained the 2013 Lions tour. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

An eight-month recovery period would mean the 36-year-old would miss the entire first season of his two-year contract with new club Toulon.

The sight of 38-year-old Victor Matfield helping South Africa to third place at the World Cup is the latest example of a veteran lock continuing to shine, with Simon Shaw and Nathan Hines having provided similar stories in recent seasons.

Speaking on the Late Late Show recently, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt appeared to intimate that he would like to see O’Connell make a return to the green jersey at some stage, while others have suggested that the 2017 Lions tour is a realistic goal for the second row.

Speaking at a PINERGY event in Dublin this morning, O’Connell said the trip to face the All Blacks is not among his goals.

“Definitely no. Look, the last few years have been brilliant, incredibly enjoyable but it’s always a challenge with my body,” said O’Connell.

“I suppose the challenge is the training. There are certain weights that I just can’t do that other guys can do. There’s a certain amount of time on my feet that I can do and other guys can do more.

“It would be a little bit too far for me. My plan had been to come off a really good World Cup. I did a good pre-season with Jason Cowman and Joe. Playing in World Cups and in these really high-intensity games and then go over to Toulon in good shape and have a really good season this year.

“Unfortunately now that has all completely changed and I’m probably going to be rehabbing the most difficult injury I’ve ever had and I’ll be rehabbing it at 36 years of age.

“It’s going to be difficult enough for my body as it is without trying to think about a tour down there. I’ll be thinking with a short-term view and I certainly don’t think I’ll be going to New Zealand.”

Paul O’Connell, who is a shareholder in PINERGY, launched the new PINERGYsmart service. The service offers consumers a smart in-home display and a first-to-market mobile app which, combined, can conveniently help consumers use less and pay less for their electricity.

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Murray Kinsella

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