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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Was that display against England Paul O'Connell's final act at home in the Six Nations?

Ireland will finish off this year’s Championship on the road and the captain still hasn’t decided whether he will play beyond the World Cup.

Paul O'Connell blocks down Ben Youngs Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

PAUL O’CONNELL LAUGHED off the above question with a comical ‘it could have been’, but Irish rugby fans may well have seen his last appearance in green on home soil.

The inspirational second row in January admitted that he was considering calling time on his career after this year’s World Cup and today says he is still mulling over his options.

Paul O'Connell with his son Paddy after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Injury permitting, O’Connell will get another opportunity to lead his country out at Lansdowne Road this August. However, those pre-tournament friendlies are hardly the white hot heat of the Championship that O’Connell thrives in.

With Ireland aiming to close out a second consecutive Six Nations Championship by winning away to Wales and Scotland, O’Connell was today asked if the Aviva Stadium has seen the last of him in full-on Six Nations mode.

“It could have been, but I just don’t know yet. I’m undecided,” the captain joked.

“I’ll probably make a decision soon enough. As I said, I really want to play to the World Cup and be in the best shape I can there and I’ll see after that.”

Paul O'Connell Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A wry smile hit O’Connell as he was pressed further and asked whether it was at least his final time facing England in Dublin, that much he was willing to concede.

“It probably is. There’s no point codding myself too much,” he said dryly, with many in the packed press room still laughing as he deliberately enunciated the last seven words of the next sentence to make sure he had it right:

I’d say that’s definitely my last home Six Nations game against England.”

Paul O'Connell is tackled Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

The legendary Limerick man, who will win his 100th cap against Wales on March 14,  added:  ”T’m not trying to make a big deal of it by not saying anything, I just genuinely haven’t decided what to do yet.

“I’m really enjoying playing at the moment in the setup we have in Ireland, but I’m conscious there’s a lot of very good second rows that are coming through. The World Cup is a big focus for me; to go there and try to be in the best shape I can. Around then will be decision time for me.”

-Originally published 20.00

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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