"It's hard to find a box Paul O'Connell doesn't tick" according to Eddie O'Sullivan

The man who gave O'Connell his international debut has spoken about the retiring Limerick star

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Paul O'Connell speaks with Eddie O'Sullivan during the 2007 World Cup. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

After failing to fully recover from a horrific hamstring injury in the World Cup last year, Paul O'Connell has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

O'Connell retired from the international game after the World Cup and was due to finish his career in France with Toulon. In the end, he never played a game for the French giants.

Eddie O'Sullivan gave O'Connell his Ireland debut in the 2002 Six Nations. The former Ireland head coach spoke to Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan about O'Connell's influence, on and off the field.

"He's an iconic figure in the game, always will be. He's right up there with the greats of Irish rugby going back through the whole history of the game. It's just sad to see him leave the stage, not at the time of his own choosing. It's a tough business and that often happens."

O'Sullivan feels that O'Connell will end up in coaching now that his playing career is over. "He has been around the game for so long. It's part of his DNA now. It's hard to imagine he won't get back into the game at some point... I think there would be no surprise if he dips his toes into the water of coaching at some point."

"The respect in world rugby for Paul is extraordinary. I just feel sad for him that it has finished up like this. I would have loved to have seen him have a run in Toulon. He is such a professional that he works so hard... He would have lapped it up in Toulon. He would have taken to it like a duck to water."