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'I won't be back in the short-term future': Paul O'Connell rules out immediate Munster return

The Stade Francais coach said he must gather more experience before a potential return.

Former Munster second row Paul O'Connell.
Former Munster second row Paul O'Connell.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PAUL O’CONNELL HAS ruled out the prospect of an immediate return to Munster as he prepares to depart his coaching role at Stade Francais at the end of this season.

Last month the Limerick native confirmed he would not be extending his contract in the French capital, but said he must garner more experience before even considering a potential return to Thomond Park.

The 39-year-old praised the current efforts being made by Johann van Graan and his backroom staff at the moment, as the province prepare to face Saracens in their Champions Cup semi-final tomorrow afternoon.

“The coaches that are there are doing a fantastic job and I’m sure they’ll remain there,” O’Connell said speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It’s really enjoyable now to come back and go to a game with my family. I think you’d have to be very, very sure before you ever went back there or if they ever wanted you to go back there.

“For me I’d have to gather a lot more experience to have the confidence to do the job well. I won’t be back there in the short-term future anyway.”

The former second row reflected positively on his stay in Paris, but said Top 14 rugby had some limitations when trying to plan long-term.

Paul O'Connell Last month it was confirmed that O'Connell would be leaving Stade Francais at the end of this season. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“I think they do some things very, very differently there to the way I would like to do them so I’ve decided to move on,” he said.

“It’s been a fantastic year for me and the family. I suppose you learn how lucky we are in Irish rugby — the structure, the way it’s run is far better suited to the long-term development of the player.

It’s very competitive from a business point of view in France. It’s very hard to think long-term there. I’ve really enjoyed my time there — I had a great relationship with the club.

“My little boy plays for Stade Francais as well so he’s a Stade fan for a long time to come.

“It has been a great year but there are a few differences in how we’d like to do things and that’s no big deal.” 

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to preview the Champions Cup semi-finals and all the week’s news on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Aaron Gallagher

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