British and Irish Lions lock Paul O’Connell admitted his career has been an incredible journey after winning the IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year on Wednesday.
O’Connell has featured in three Lions tours, playing in seven Tests, and acted as captain in the 2009 series against South Africa.
The talismanic second row played in the first clash against Australia in the 2013 tour, but fractured his arm in the 23-21 victory and was ruled out of the final two Tests.
And while injuries have certainly troubled O’Connell throughout his career he revealed he wouldn’t be the player he is today without them.
"Sometimes you only remember the hard times,” he told the Irish Independent.
“The wins seem so fleeting and you move on from them so quickly, and you torture yourself so much during the hard times when you've been injured or when you've not been successful.
“So those times often stick out more but when you put it to me like that in terms of achievements, you kind of go, 'Crikey, it was actually a great period'.
"I've persevered if nothing else. I've had some bad injuries, some which have changed the way I've trained and which then have changed the way I play.
"I've fought hard to try to believe that I could still be good despite the injuries and having to do things differently. I hope it's all an advertisement for perseverance if anything."
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