Ireland always want to win the tournaments but focus is on next game - Paul O'Connell

Paul O'Connell is excited about Ireland's chances in the ongoing Six Nations tournament
Paul O'Connell is excited about Ireland's chances in the ongoing Six Nations tournament

Forwards coach Paul O'Connell insisted that Ireland are determined to maintain their winning start in the ongoing Six Nations tournament.

Ireland started the tournament with a 38-17 win over France in the opening round at Orange Velodrome and followed it with a 36-0 victory over Italy in the second round at Aviva Stadium.

They now take on Wales at Principality Stadium on 24th February and O'Connell, who played 108 times for Ireland between 2002 and 2015 says they want to focus on every game 'ignoring the bigger picture'.

“We talk about winning, for sure, we always want to win the tournaments we’re playing in and we talk about winning them but once we’ve cleared that up, we don’t really talk about it much more,” he told.

“We just focus on the next game. We focus on what needs to be better for the next game and get excited about doing the things we feel might lead to a performance.

“It’s something that the players do really well. It’s a practised skill being next-game focused.

“Andy’s big into it; Joe Schmidt (former Ireland head coach) was big into it back in the day and a lot of the players are big into it because it helps them prepare properly by ignoring the bigger picture.”

The 44-year-old also credited former captain Johnny Sexton for leaving a lasting legacy in he team.

“I suppose you’re very hopeful that the work we’ve done with all of the players kind of comes through, but you’re a bit nervous that it might not happen as well,” he added.

“We’re only two games in so we’ve plenty of battles ahead of us.

“I think one thing that maybe Johnny has given a lot of the guys is he’s shown how much you have to care about the team and how much you have to care about how you prepare.

“He’s been a great example to some of the guys that are going to end up as leaders in the team.

“While he’s gone, his legacy from how he used to go about his business still lives on with us.

“A lot of the guys – Peter O’Mahony, Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Garry Ringrose – they’ve a few of his qualities in them that helps us arrive to a good place every Saturday when we play.”


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