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Joe Schmidt Reached Outside The English Language To Describe Paul O'Connell

Joe Schmidt Reached Outside The English Language To Describe Paul O'Connell
By Mark Farrelly

You know you've done well for yourself when they run out of words in the English language they can use to describe you.

After Saturday night's heroics, Irish captain Paul O'Connell came in for some strong praise from Joe Schmidt, with the New Zealand coach reaching for a Maori word when trying to describe the Munster man. Schmidt told press: 'A word that sums him up is that he’s just got ‘mana’.

'Mana' does not have a direct translation into English but when you consult the Maori dictionary it says:

2. (noun) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma - mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Mana goes hand in hand with tapu, one affecting the other. The more prestigious the event, person or object, the more it is surrounded by tapu and mana. Mana is the enduring, indestructible power of the atua and is inherited at birth, the more senior the descent, the greater the mana.

High praise indeed. Schimdt went on to embellish his comment:

A guy who does not know how to give up, he prides himself on being as well prepared as he can be and he has massive respect within the group because of how he delivers. When he’s done, he delivers again.

Not many guys have the mental capacity Paul O’Connell has. There are a lot of guys who physically get into good shape, but he’s one of the most mentally tough players I’ve been involved with.

This is only a snippet of what his coach had to say about him. Speaking about O'Connell's role as a captain, Schmidt said 'He just keeps going right through the game, that’s why he has so much respect and that’s why he’s a genuine captain who leads by example.'

Some lovely compliments for a great player.

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hat-tip: Irish Examiner

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