Find out more about the former Ireland captain who is now part of the coaching set-up

Paul O’Connell: Ten things you should know about the Ireland forwards coach

Former Ireland captain and lock Paul O’Connell joined the country’s coaching staff in 2021 in a forwards role…

Ten things you should know about Paul O’Connell

1. Paul O’Connell was born on 20 October 1979 in Limerick, Ireland.

He started in rugby as a player and competed for Munster, Toulon and Ireland.

2. He was good at swimming as a child and only turned to rugby at the age of 16.

3. O’Connell first captained Ireland in 2004 in the absence of Brian O’Driscoll, but he was officially named as skipper in 2013.

He scored eight tries and played 108 Tests for Ireland from 2002 to 2015.

4. He played on three British & Irish Lions tours and captained the team for the 2009 tour to South Africa. Overall, he played seven Tests across the 2005, 2009 and 2013 tours.

5. O’Connell began coaching in 2017 as an assistant to the Ireland U20 team. He then became forwards coach at Stade Francais and is now holding the same position in the Ireland camp.

6. He and his wife Emily have three children together, two sons and a daughter.

7. O’Connell was awarded Irish Sports Book of the Year in 2016 for The Battle.

8. Despite his love of rugby, family is what is most important to O’Connell. He told RTE in 2020: “Family is probably the main thing that I enjoy the most – I’ve a ten-year-old, a five-year-old and a two-year-old.

“It’s pretty busy, it’s very enjoyable and the last few weeks of that has been incredible – difficult at times but it’s been great fun.”

9. O’Connell was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Limerick in 2015.

10. He was given the Freedom of Limerick City in 2012.

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