Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has ruled out being involved in the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, saying he will be “long gone from the game”.
The 35-year-old second-row, who has been in outstanding form this year, has however backed his country to launch a strong World Cup assault.
“We certainly have a chance,” he told the Irish Independent about the 2015 event.
“We have shown that we can beat anyone on our day. We still don’t have the strength in depth of the southern hemisphere nations, so there are certain things that will have to go our way – but I think we have the potential to win a World Cup.”
He added on his personal future: “I don’t really know how long I can keep on going for – I want to play in the next World Cup and want to be in the best possible shape. I am still undecided if I will play on after the World Cup.
“It’s something that plays on my mind a little bit. I don’t dread the day, but I don’t think it was ever my intention to keep on playing this long. I certainly won’t be putting my hand up for Lions selection in 2017 – I’ll be long gone from the game, believe me.”