After being immersed in professional rugby for 15 years, Paul O’Connell says he is enjoying his break from the game.

The ex-Ireland captain announced his retirement from the sport in February having failed to recover from a hamstring injury suffered during the World Cup win over France last October.

The double-Heineken Cup winner had moved from Munster to Toulon but had to call it quits due to the severity of his injury.

The 36-year-old has undertaken some punditry work and also acts as an advisor in the Munster academy but unlike former international colleagues Ronan O’Gara and Leo Cullen, who both took up coaching roles immediately after hanging up their playing boots, O’Connell felt that he needed a break from full-time rugby.

“For me it’s important to take a break from the game and have a look at other things as well and that’s what I’m enjoying doing,” said O’Connell at the announcement of the Aldi Play Rugby programme, a national IRFU initiative for primary school children. 

The former second row’s decision not to take up a full-time position, despite offers, has given him more time to spend with his young family, something he places great emphasis on.

“I think it’s very tough on people with young families,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“It’s a massive time commitment. And I’d say no matter how much work you think you are doing, you can always be doing more.

“That’s the challenge as well, the same as any other job, to have balance in what you do and be able to give time to your family as well.”