Boost for Munster as Paul O’Connell steps up training after injury
‘From a fitness point of view I’d say I’m unfit. From an injury point of view I’m injury free’
Paul O’Connell during a Munster squad training session at UL Limerick yesterday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Paul O’Connell has delivered a pre-season boost to Munster by declaring he has recovered from injury and is raring to go again.
O’Connell sustained a broken arm in the closing stages of the first Lions Test in Australia. But after shaking off the effects of the fracture he is primed for an instant return, as soon as he competes his player welfare time on the sideline.
O’Connell said he is as hungry as ever to succeed with Munster and that seeing the work that his team-mates have put in in his absence is a real inspiration to him.
“From a fitness point of view I’d say I’m unfit. From an injury point of view I’m injury free. I was back running today, back doing a little bit of weights on the arm today. So all that is going well,” said O’Connell. “I’ve had a few weeks off since the Lions tour with my arm and stuff, so I have a little bit of catching up to do on some of the guys.
“A lot of them have had a really long pre-season, and eight week pre-season, which is incredible. It’s amazing to come in and see the benefits that guys get from training full-time for five days in a row, then getting two days off for the bodies to recover. I’ve a bit of catching up to do on the fitness side of things alright,” said the former Irish and Lions skipper, who is expected to return by week three of the Pro12. Meanwhile, new Munster signing Andrew Conway insists he didn’t break his contract with Leinster to join Rob Penney’s side.
At the time his move was announced in January it was suggested that Conway had left Joe Schmidt’s side with one year remaining on his contract. But according to the former Irish U-20 international he was free to make the move to any team he liked after declining the option of a third year with Leinster.
“It wasn’t a case of Leinster letting me go it was a case of me talking to Munster and me talking to Leinster and making decisions on my own. “I wasn’t contracted to Leinster believe it or not. That’s what everybody seemed to think at the time so it was my own decision.”
After making the move south and settling into his new surroundings, Conway is delighted with the first few weeks in the red shirt. And on the verge of his Munster debut this weekend – if he is selected against Gloucester – he is already convinced he has made the right move.
“I chatted to Rob, I chatted to Simon and Niall (O’Donovan), my agent, a few of my mates and took all things into account and decided to come down here and try something new, get out of my comfort zone,” he said.