Rugby | 2 months ago
WATCH: Paul O'Connell winds up the Welsh with two classic remarks
Poor Shane Williams!

We often hear that Paul O'Connell has a great sense of humour but we only ever see glimpses.

The Irish rugby legend was a fierce competitor on the pitch and some buck for upping the ante in pre-match speeches but he had his lighter side...

During a recent 'Scrum' round-table event for Standard Life, the Lions' main sponsors, O'Connell offered some quality insight and talking points. For a lot of the evening, though, he was ribbing Wales and their former winger Shane Williams.

The former Ireland captain joked about sharing a room with Williams back in 2005. He said:

"I thought the Welsh boys were the first ones to start wearing fake tan and that.

"The first man, male, that I ever saw with a hair-straightener was Shane Williams. Didn't even try and hide it when he unpacked his luggage. Hair-straightener straight out on the bed... couldn't believe it."

Funnily enough, Williams didn't deny it.

O'Connell was not done there. Asked about four separate nations coming together to try figure out how to down New Zealand, O'Connell harked back to Warren Gatland's tactical instructions in 2009 [as assistant coach] and 2013, where the ball-carrying emphasis was firmly placed on the forwards' shoulders.

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"One of the last thing I enjoyed about the last two Lions tours was the way we played.

"We played the Welsh game-plan essentially which, for the Welsh, you can learn in about half an hour!"

When the laughter died down, O'Connell continued:

"But it was really, really simple. After two days in Pennyhill [the Lions training camp], we were all on the same page.

"Particularly in 2009, guys like Brian O'Driscoll absolutely loved how we played. Basically [the game-plan] regenerates the backline all the time. He got loads of time to get ready and have a go at the [South African] line with really good players beside him.

"He wasn't going to the line with second rows and props. He was going with guys like Shane and Jamie Roberts." 

As if reverting to the steely O'Connell that so many of us remember from his playing days, he cautioned that the simplistic game-plan may not cut it down in New Zealand this summer.

Two days, two weeks or even two years together, the All Blacks will be the toughest test imaginable, no matter the game-plan.

While you're here...


Watch Wooly, Lar Corbett, Daithí Regan, Dion Fanning, Conor Sketches and Carlow's Endline Challenge on SportsJOE Live Episode 20.

Read more about:

Ireland, Lions 2017, British and Irish Lions, Paul O'Connell, Wales Rugby