“il rugby degli altri”: Paul O’Connell, addio al rugby. La fine di un’era

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Paul O’Connell ha detto addio al rugby (Credit: Jason O’Callaghan)

Paul O’Connell ha detto basta. Non solo al rugby internazionale, ma al rugby giocato.

Il talismanico seconda linea irlandese, uno dei veri e propri simboli del rugby mondiale e del passaggio “generazionale” tra il rugby “classico” e il rugby “moderno”, si e’ dovuto arrendere a causa di un infortunio rimediato durante l’ultima RWC2015 e da cui non si e’ mai completamente ripreso.

O’Connell al termine della scorsa stagione aveva deciso di lasciare Munster e Limerick e di passare al RC Toulon, alla ricerca di una sorta di “seconda giovinezza” in riva al Mediterraneo. Al termine della RWC, il capitano dell’Irlanda aveva deciso di lasciare il rugby internazionale e di concentrarsi sul recupero fisico; Toulon lo aveva anche presentato con una conferenza stampa e “Paulie” si era trasferito nel sud della Francia con tutta la sua famiglia per cominciare la sua nuova avventura.

Oggi, purtroppo, il “vecchio guerriero” ha dovuto appendere gli scarpini al chiodo.

Ecco, nel comunicato stampa emesso dalla IRFU, le parole di Paul O’Connell:

It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from professional rugby following medical advice.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Rugby Club Toulonnais for their understanding and support over the past few months.
 
Since sustaining the injury at the World Cup I have been fully focused on returning to fitness and starting an exciting new chapter for both myself and my family in Toulon.  Unfortunately this will no longer be possible.
 
I have been blessed to be a professional rugby player for over 14 years and to be part of Munster and Ireland teams that have experienced success.  I have played with some of the best players to ever line out in the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and have had the privilege of captaining my country.
 
I would like to thank those at Young Munster RFC, Munster Rugby, the IRFU and Lions Rugby who have supported me over the course of my playing career.
 
Special thanks must go to my wife Emily for her unwavering support through the good and the bad and to my parents Michael and Shelagh.
 
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has supported the teams I have been a part of.  The support you have shown me is humbling and an immense source of pride for both myself and my family.
 
Paul O’Connell  

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