O’Connell struggling to make Munster’s Heineken Cup opener

PAUL O’Connell is facing an uphill battle to be match fit for Munster’s opening Heineken Cup pool fixture against Racing Metro in Paris on Saturday, October 13.

PAUL O’Connell is facing an uphill battle to be match fit for Munster’s opening Heineken Cup pool fixture against Racing Metro in Paris on Saturday, October 13.

However, the good news for the province’s rugby fans is that the talismanic second-row is due to begin contact work with the Ireland squad in their mini training camp this week. O’Connell has been sidelined for several months which a knee injury, with his recovery complicated by a back spasm. However, the 32-year-old issued an upbeat report on his progress at the Irish training camp base at Carton House.

O’Connell said: “I’d love to play in Paris. It would probably be too soon in terms of match fitness. If I got back sooner rather than later, perhaps. I’ve been avoiding putting dates on it. It’s been so frustrating. I’m just going week to week.”

O’Connell described his knee as being “pretty much A1”. It is now just a case of waiting on the back problem to come right.

“My knee delayed me a long time. I tweaked my back which set me back a week or two,” O’Connell explained.

“My knee is pretty much A1 and I’ve just been waiting on that spasm with the back. It’s not worrying.

“I’d love to be back playing. To be at your best, the more games you play the fitter you get and the sharper you get. It’s just frustrating from that end, it’s not worrying … I’m not worried about anything structurally in terms of my future career.”