15 Apr 14
The Squad trained in UL today ahead of what is now a must-win interprovincial derby away to Connacht if Munster are to secure qualification for the knock-out stages of the RaboDirect PRO12.
"I certainly hope so. I think I have a bit to go yet before I'm back to full fitness and no matter what you do out there," he says nodding towards the sun-drenched Bowl, "it's playing matches that make all the difference."
O'Connell is looking forward to the game on Friday against a Cardiff side he describes as a "good physical side who like to play rugby and who can." He'll partner Mick O'Driscoll while the other 'O' takes a well earned rest with praise from his skipper ringing in his ears.
"Dunners is a fabulous performer. I don't think he gets anything near the credit he deserves. Sometimes the camera might pick up a big play from him, a big hit maybe. But if you look at his stats, they're incredible. He works so hard. He's encouraging players around. He's coaching others on the pitch. He's a totally selfless player."
For their part Cardiff Blues know exactly what they've to do if they're to make the knock outs as coach Dai Young outlined bluntly. "We've got six games left and I believe we've got to win at least five of them to get into the play-offs," he said while veteran flanker Martyn Williams appears quietly confident.
We've got a lot of away games which perhaps isn't ideal, but having Munster home straight after the Six Nations is a must-win game for us really," added Williams, who was left out of Warren Gatland's Wales squad in 2011.
"Its great to have the firepower we had coming back into the side, added to the boys that have been playing the last few weeks - fingers crossed we'll be a good enough side to put in a performance against Munster."