Rugby

Paul O'Connell Won Lots Of Plaudits In The Co-Commentary Box Last Night

Paul O'Connell Won Lots Of Plaudits In The Co-Commentary Box Last Night

What exactly is the purpose of the co-commentator on a BBC Six Nations game? Is it to analyse the game or to speak for the parish? Paul O'Connell has been slowly dipping his toes into the scintillating world of rugby punditry and emerged as the commentary star of last night's BBC broadcast beside Eddie Butler and Jonathan Davies. His calm, clear, balanced and certain analysis won him widespread praise from both media reviewers and punters alike, in Ireland and Britain.

Surely, with Welshmen Butler and Davies beside him, O'Connell must have been tempted to speak up for Ireland. But he never put on those green-tinted glasses - he called the match as he saw it, and viewers seemed almost shocked by his impartiality.

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It was interesting to see O'Connell entirely shut down Eddie Butler early on, after Butler wondered if Wayne Barnes had wrongly penalised Sean O'Brien for being offside.

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O'Connell was also incredibly insightful during the game's pivotal play, the Henshaw obstruction on Ireland's rolling maul in the 70th minute. He was coming to grips with his mixed feelings about the penalty's merits in real time while offering a concise explanation of what Henshaw did wrong and how it could have been avoided.

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It wasn't just folks on social media that appreciated O'Connell's co-commentary. Malachy Clerkin was effusive in his praise for O'Connell in today's Irish Times.

The sentiment was expressed by many media members in the last 24 hours.

It's just the latest excellent media contribution from Ireland's 'golden generation' of rugby players.

Donny Mahoney
Article written by
Donny Mahoney is Chief Sportswriter and one of the founders of Balls.ie

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