O’Connell praise for Schmidt revolution

Paul O’Connell has claimed “there’s been nothing done on my behalf” in the wake of rumours linking him with a move to France after next year’s World Cup.

The Ireland captain dismissed suggestions he would cut short his Munster and Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) contract, which runs until 2016, to join Pau.

O’Connell said he has had no contact with the French Pro D2 club, before switching to more immediate thoughts of how to atone for Ireland’s “toughest day” under Joe Schmidt when facing Australia TOday.

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Ireland were overwhelmed 
32-15 by the Wallabies at the Aviva Stadium in November 2013, with lock O’Connell admitting “they took us apart”.

The 35-year-old will lead Schmidt’s men in a bid for a first autumn clean sweep since 2006 in Dublin this weekend, conceding last year’s loss to Australia remains fresh in the memory. “I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know where it came from,” said O’Connell when quizzed on links to Pau.

“I suppose it’s the fact that James Coughlan and Simon Mannix are there and I knew them at Munster, but there’s been nothing done on my behalf, and nothing done on Pau’s behalf anyway.

“I’m contracted until the summer of 2016, so I just don’t know where it came from.”

Ireland have still lost just twice under Schmidt since the Kiwi took the helm for last year’s autumn series.

Schmidt has transformed Ireland’s fortunes since taking the helm however, claiming the sIX Nations crown in his first campaign and edging the side to third place in the world rankings.

“There was a lot of excitement when Joe took over the job,” continued O’Connell.

“He’d been so successful with Leinster, and I think we had a lot of really good things in place going into the game.”