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Paul O'Connell suffers injury setback
ESPN Staff
July 30, 2012
Ireland lock Paul O'Connell during training, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, September 16, 2011
Paul O'Connell is now unlikely to be fit for the start of the PRO12 season © Getty Images
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Teams: Ireland | Munster

Munster captain Paul O'Connell has revealed that he faces a race against time to be fit for the start of the new season as he continues to battle back from a knee injury.

The 32-year-old lock missed the end of last season and Ireland's recent tour to New Zealand with a medial ligament complaint but has since begun pre-season training with his Irish province. However, he has admitted that he is behind in his recovery plan and a doubt for the start of the new campaign next month.

"I thought I'd be further down the track that I am now," he told the Irish Times. "I suppose I thought I might have had a chance of playing in New Zealand but when I didn't go I thought surely I'll be back and ready for the start of pre-season. Unfortunately I wasn't. I am back doing running now this last week and a half and hope to be back fully into it at the end of this week.

"I have had about four weeks hard work with the physio under my belt and it has been brilliant. While the internationals were away I got a lot of work done by myself, but it has been frustrating.

"I'd love to have had four or five weeks of a good pre-season under my belt or running. I have plenty of weights done and plenty of skills down, but it haven't got the running, the hard slog done like some of the boys. Hopefully next week I can get into that."

O'Connell has also hailed the impact of new head coach Rob Penney who he has described as "a breath of fresh air" having filled the void left by former boss Tony McGahan.

"It has been very exciting. Rob came in with Simon Mannix a few weeks ago and they have been a breath of fresh air. We had a few great years with Tony (McGahan), but the change has been nice as well. It has been really good since he came in, really positive.

"He is an interesting guy who has interesting ideas about the game. It is something different and something different is exciting for guys. A lot of players have moved on and you have a lot of really young enthusiastic guys there. Their work ethic and attitude is fantastic so it is a great place to be at the moment and hopefully it stays like that once the matches start as well."

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