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Paul’s Diary: Frustration, Italy And Marbles

Paul’s Diary: Frustration, Italy And Marbles

Ireland captain Paul O’Connell vents his frustration in training, analyses his opposite number and takes time out to play a game of marbles (of sorts). Check out his latest diary entry.

It’s been a strange few weeks to say the least with the predominant emotion one of frustration. You’d be quite cranky after a defeat and the priority is to get back into a competitive arena.

As players you want a chance to move on in a positive manner, preferably as soon as possible. The postponement in Paris just ramped up the levels of frustration.

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One upshot of the refixed date for the French match is that I have had to hand back two tickets for Florence and the Machine. I was due to go on the Friday night.

We had our best training session since we came into camp on the Tuesday. There weren’t too many backward steps taken in the contact session.

The number of changes that Italy have made for this match from the team that played against us in the World Cup is surprising. Obviously Martin Castrogiovanni is injured but their new head coach Jacques Brunel has put his stamp on the side.

One that interests me is the return of former Italian captain Marco Bortolami, who will partner Quintin Geldenhuys in the second row.

He is a fine player, who I have enjoyed many a battle against over the years but I was a little surprised that Cornelius van Zyl lost out. Munster struggled against him earlier in the season. He ran the Cheetahs lineout very successfully when in South Africa.

Jason Cowman (our strength & conditioning coach) devised a new game to test a theory that as players get older their hand/eye coordination diminishes a little.

He put the top of a water bottle on the ground and gave players three marbles. They had to stand about a metre-and-a-half away and try and throw the marbles into the top.

We may have busted the myth because it ended in a draw between the younger and older players; although I have to confess that it might be true in my case as I lost to Cian Healy.

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