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Joe Schmidt has backed Paul O'Connell to become a successful coach following his retirement from rugby.
O'Connell announced his retirement from the game on Tuesday after struggling to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained while playing for Ireland at last year's Rugby World Cup.
With his playing career behind him, O'Connell must now decide whether to follow his former Munster and Ireland team-mate Ronan O'Gara with a move into coaching but Schmidt believes he has all the attributes needed to succeed at a coach.
“With the intellectual property he holds, as a forwards and a breakdown specialist, I think he’s got a wealth of ability to contribute technically but also the character he is I think he'd be incredibly good in that team environment," Schmidt told Irish Rugby TV.
"I think it’s one of those things, where all good things come to an end, and even really good things come to an end.
"For him that’s a segment of his life that definitely was his life along with his family because he committed everything he could to being the best rugby player he could be and inevitably he became the best leader he could be as well."
O'Connell retired from international rugby after the injury he sustained in the France game and Schmidt admits he has left a big void.
"It’s a loss for Irish rugby but at the same time it’s one of those things that is inevitable at some stage," he said.
“Obviously there was a real disappointment he didn’t even get to contest the last segment of the World Cup. But he’s won everything else in rugby.
"He’s made an incredible contribution and the jersey he’s left behind is going to be incredibly difficult to fill."