Paul O'Connell had us all in stitches as he tried to figure out if this was his last game against England
Say it ain't so Paulie.
It took a while but Paul O'Connell, with the help of the Irish media and some head-scratching, that today was the Irish captain's last game against England. In the Six Nations. In Dublin.
Sad times indeed.
O'Connell is, as yet, undecided on whether he will continue playing after this year's World Cup. At a stretch, he can see himself playing until the end of 2015/16. That would mean one more tilt against England at Twickenham.
He said, 'It could have been but I don’t know yet, I’m undecided. I’ll probably make the decision soon enough, I really want to play to the World Cup and be in the best shape I can there and see after that.'
Sitting beside Joe Schmidt, O'Connell said, 'That probably was my last Six Nations game against England in Dublin.' He paused, broke into a smile and added, 'There’s no point codding myself too much here.'
When the laughter died down, and Schmidt gave him a playful nudge, he commented, 'I’m not trying to make a big deal by not saying anything I just genuinely haven’t decided what to do yet.
O'Connell added, 'I’m really enjoying playing at the moment in the set-up we have in Ireland, but I’m conscious we have a lot of good second-rows coming through as well.
'The World Cup is a big focus for me to try to go there and be in as best shape as I can, and around then will be decision-time for me.'
'You're the best.... around'
With due deference given to the 2009 Grand Slam side, O'Connell was also asked if this is the best Ireland team he has ever played in, he said, 'Yeah it’s close to it.
'I think we’re doing a lot of things really well. The way we’re preparing is a lot different from what we've done in the past in my time here.
“I just think the game-by-game focus suits Irish teams and Irish people.
“I’m sure the coaches look at the bigger picture, but for us, there will be a fairly brutal review of this game, and we’ll be put under pressure then to prepare certain things for Wales, and that will be the sole focus of the players.
'And it works well for us, it gets the best out of us.
'It’s creating a brilliant set-up and an exciting set-up to be involved in.'