Paul O'Connell is facing up to...

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Paul O'Connell is facing up to the difficulties of coaching transition


After spending the entirety of his professional playing career in Ireland, Paul O'Connell is keen to broaden his rugby horizons before stepping back into coaching. 

Citing "a different philosophy" to what he was used to as a reason for his departure from Stade Francais, Paul O'Connell is in no rush to jump back into coaching.

Having spent so long in one place, the Munster legend intends to use his free time to embrace alternative rugby cultures before making a move back into the professional game.

"I had spoken to one or two places," O'Connell revealed to Off the Ball, "but I think when you are only starting out [in coaching] you probably want to work somewhere where you're going to learn.

"You want to work somewhere where you're under the radar a little bit."

In contrast to other players that find the transition from playing to coaching straight-forward, O'Connell, a former captain of Munster, Ireland and the Lions, is conscious of certain limitations he possesses and wishes to address.

"Learning to teach is the big thing for me. Anyone can have the rugby knowledge, but it's the teaching that is the really, really hard part.

"That's why maybe the likes of Joe Schmidt or Stuart Lancaster, who were formerly teachers, are very good at what they do.

"It's very different to playing or captaining where you're standing in the middle of the group. You're doing what [the other players] are doing so you can kind of coach as you go.

"When you're standing on the sideline, it's a very different dynamic. For me, that's taking a bit of getting used to."

Demonstrating the kind of determination one might expect of the 39-year-old, Paul O'Connell is ensuring that he progresses as quickly and effectively as possible.

"I did a Q & A recently with Stuart Lancaster and I learned more in the half-hour than I did in a long time.

"That's one thing I have done in the last year, pick up the phone to a lot of people and just shoot the breeze with them."

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Read more about

Andy Farrell Irish Rugby Football Union Joe Schmidt Munster Rugby Paul O'Connell Stuart Lancaster

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