O'Connell's operation deemed a success

Updated: Tuesday, 01 Jan 2013 21:09

Munster have confirmed that Paul O'Connell's surgery to correct a bulging disc that was pressing on a nerve in his lower back went successfully.

The procedure was carried out in Dublin on Monday and the player is now set to begin rehab with a target date of early April for a return to competitive action.

O'Connell explained: "I'm delighted with the way the operation went. More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned.

"My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable. In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts."

O'Connell latest setback is similar to an issue in 2002 that required surgery and a re-occurrence in 2008. The later was managed without needing surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup and Magners League.

"In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts" - O'Connell

When the problem arose again this season it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008. However though progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for him to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.