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O’Connell To Remain As Munster Captain

O’Connell To Remain As Munster Captain

Munster Rugby have confirmed that Paul O’Connell will captain the province for the 2007/08 season, continuing in the role he took over from Anthony Foley last season.

Ireland lock O’Connell, who has captained his country on three occasions, succeeded Foley as Munster skipper last term.

While O’Connell will hope to lead Munster to Magners League and Heineken Cup glory in 2008, the 27-year-old’s immediate plans are all geared towards Ireland’s World Cup campaign this autumn.

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Speaking at Tuesday’s launch of the new Munster adidas kit, he said: “Ideally we want to be winning our group (at the World Cup). You want to be in the competition after the group stage. The way we’re playing, ideally we’d like to be coming out of our group as winners.

“It’s a tough group with France and Argentina in with us, but that’s just the way the draw is. You just get on with it. Our ‘home’ games (in Bordeaux) are going to be so important, then it’s a question of what we can do on the road (in Paris) after that.”

O’Connell was a keen observer of the recent Tri Nations tournament which saw World Cup favourites New Zealand retain the title despite losing to Australia for the first time since 2004.

The Limerick giant reckons that that defeat and a less-than-impressive performance away to South Africa will have All Blacks in prime form for the global showpiece which is only 43 days away.

“The All Blacks lost one game. For a team on such a run I think it was bound to happen. For them and their management, it’s a good thing it happened there and not in the World Cup.

“Australia are coming back strongly again as they always do. South Africa are coming back after a very strong Super 14 campaign. It’s going to be tough. We always knew it was,” he admitted.