O’Connell issues warning to Munster’s rivals

Updated: January 16, 2012

Paul O’Connell has warned Munster’s rivals that the side have plenty more to offer, having reached the Heineken Cup knockout stages at the weekend.

O’Connell led the reds to their fifth win out of five in this year’s competition against Castres on Saturday and the Irish player feels that there is a lot more to work on after that 26-10 success at Thomond Park.

O’Connell praised Donncha Ryan for the efforts he has put in this season, while also adding that the progress of the likes of full back Denis Hurley and back row Peter O’Mahony shows that the province may not be the backnumber many pundits believe.

O’Connell was quoted by the Irish Examiner as saying: “Donnacha has done really well. He’s deceptively quick and very aggressive. Technically, he’s a good tackler and when he carries the ball, he carries hard.

“There’s a great battle amongst us at second-row, with Mick O’Driscoll, Donncha O’Callaghan, Ian Nagle and Dave Foley as well in the mix. The competition for places is making everyone up their game.

“We’ve had our injury problems and a lot of our big players are out. It’s great to see other players now leading the team the way they are. I thought Denis Hurley was outstanding; it was everything you want from a full back, when he ran it back, he ran it hard and if he made a break it would take two or three people to stop him.

“I don’t think (O’Mahony) he needs to curb his aggression; that’s the leadership we want and people are following him. When you get young guys coming in, and they’re looking to be the best on the field and not just tread water, it gives the team a massive lift.

“Every time he’s played he’s been great. Rugby is a physical game and that’s how he plays. He’s a great guy to play behind and beside. He’s an example to every young player, what attitude can do for you. Like all the young guys coming through, that sets them apart. They all have the same skills but attitude sets them apart.”

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