/ Six Nations 2014

Ireland's Paul O'Connell dismisses talk of post-Lions fatigue affecting Six Nations performance

Updated: Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 21:24 | Comments

Paul O'Connell: 'I got a good break after the Lions tour, we've had some very tough games in the last few months'
Paul O'Connell: 'I got a good break after the Lions tour, we've had some very tough games in the last few months'

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Ireland will not suffer any British and Irish Lions tour fatigue in the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations, according to captain Paul O'Connell.

France have claimed the Six Nations title every season directly following a Lions tour in the professional era.

However, talismanic lock O'Connell does not expect any fallout this season, paying tribute to the IRFU's careful management of their players.

"After my first Lions tour I actually broke my hand in my first game back and got another ten weeks off, so I got a really long pre-season," said O'Connell of his experiences after the 2005 Lions tour.

"Certainly that [France winning] happened back in 1997 and maybe in 2001, but I think we're very well-managed now.

"I got a good break after the Lions tour, we've had some very tough games in the last few months, but managed to get a down week over Christmas as well.

"So I think it's something you can believe if you want to, you can look for it if you want, but the way we've been managed, most of our Lions players are feeling fairly good.”

"I tend to chirp and chat a lot to the players"

Ireland host Scotland on 2 February to open their Six Nations challenge, before taking on Wales in Dublin just six days later.

O'Connell, who this week tied up a new two-year deal with Munster, expects Wales captain Sam Warburton to cause Ireland problems when the teams meet in round two.

Expecting the back-rower to galvanise Wales again, O'Connell said: "I thought he was excellent: he's a quiet enough guy who leads from the front in everything he does, whether it's the gym, the analysis room, the training field, but most importantly when he's on the pitch playing, he leads from the front.

"There was a lot of experience on that Lions tour this year, there was plenty of guys to do the shouting and the barking for him, so he was able to do what he does best.

"I thought he had a great tour as a captain and it's no surprise he's won the tour, too. It could have been tough for him with that amount of leadership experience there, but he made sure it wasn't awkward at all.

"I suppose I tend to chirp and chat a lot to the players, and he was really eager to let me off the leash to do that. That relaxed me, I was happy with that. I thought he was an insightful and great captain, and I'm sure he will do that job extremely well with Wales for many years now."

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