POC to retire from tests after RWC

Date published: July 14 2015

Paul O'Connell won't play for Ireland again after the World Cup when he moves to Toulon, he has revealed.

The Irish skipper, who will lead Ireland in what will be his fourth World Cup, will call time on his Test career at the end of the tournament.

O'Connell, who is joining triple European champions Toulon, having played his entire career with Munster, believes it would be too much for him to perform at both club and international level.

And with a host of players coming through in the engine room for Ireland, the 35-year-old believes it will be time to move on.

"I don’t think I’ll be needed on the end of the phone," he said. 

"There is great strength in depth in the second row at the moment and we probably have a few back rows who can jump in and do a job there as well. I will be at the end of the phone, but I won’t be needed and I won’t be available either.

"I just know myself: I’m really looking forward to the World Cup, but this is going to be the end of my time for Ireland. I want to go to France and play for Toulon and I am not going to be able to do what Jonathan Sexton did last year where you play big games and have a down week.

"You saw Johnny (with Racing Metro) getting on a plane to go away and play a team like Clermont away from home. For an Irish player to try and play for Ireland, play in France and play to the best of his abilities is a very difficult thing to do.

"When I spoke to them (the Irish union) I said ‘if this is an issue I’m actually very happy to retire’. I didn’t want to cause trouble. I know this is a situation where it is going to be a battle for them holding on to players and me going to Toulon probably isn’t ideal for them. As I said earlier, I am very grateful to them for doing that."