Rugby

Eddie O'Sullivan Told An Outrageous Story Of Paul O'Connell's Incredible Will To Win

Eddie O'Sullivan Told An Outrageous Story Of Paul O'Connell's Incredible Will To Win

Nearly ten years ago today, Ireland travelled to Paris for a Six Nations game under the charge of Eddie O'Sullivan.

France raced into 29-3 lead aided by tries from Aurelien Rougerie, Olivier Magne, David Marty and Cedric Heymans.

We discussed this latest example of O'Connell's staggering heroism on our daily sports podcast, The Racket:

O'Connell'sThe game was pretty much dead and buried for Ireland after 40 minutes.

In stereotypical French fashion, their foot was removed from the gas and carelessness set in.

With just less than 15 minutes remaining on the clock, Ireland had cut the lead to 12. There it would remain, though. Still, face saved for the Irish XV.

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Paul O'Connell started in the second row, partnered by Malcolm O'Kelly that day. Ten minutes into the second half, the man who today announced his retirement, injured his collarbone.

 

Speaking on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM following O'Connell's announcement, O'Sullivan told of the Munster man's incredible will to win in that game. Despite being 30 points down at the time of the injury, O'Connell played on; showing a tolerance for pain which O'Sullivan could barely comprehend.

Probably the thing that jumps out at me is back in 2006 we were playing in Paris. We started the game horrendously. We were all over the place. I think - oh God - it must have been 30 points down at half time. We were taking water like we were drowning out there.

We went out in the second half and we steadied the ship. We were coming back into the game and maybe ten minutes into the second half he was taken off the side of a ruck by a French player and he separated his AC joint which is his collarbone and his collarbone popped up. It was, I suppose, half an inch after popping up, almost breaking through the skin.

For most people, most mortals, the pain of that is excruciating. Like you would have been reeled ashore; an ice-pack and sit him down.

He played on, he never broke stride, he ran through it. To me, I just couldn't get my head around how he went through the pain barrier for 30 minutes in Paris.

We came back and we scared the hell out of the French and nearly won the game. His contribution in the second half was extraordinary - by any standards - when you consider he had a separated AC joint as he was doing it, to me that was just incredible.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

Read: The International Reaction Thus Far To Paul O'Connell's Retirement

Read: Paul O'Connell's Earliest Memories Of Rugby Are As Limerick As It Gets

PJ Browne
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