Dublin - Ireland captain Paul O'Connell may retire from rugby after this year's World Cup rather than see out the remainder of his contract until the end of the 2015/16 season, he said on Tuesday.
The Munster lock, who led Ireland to just their second Six Nations title in 29 years last year, turned 35 in October and looks set to earn his 100th cap for his country during the defence of the championship starting next month.
O'Connell captained the British & Irish Lions in 2009 and recovered from a serious back injury to travel with the tourists for a third time in 2013. He said he would soon decide when he will follow another famous ex-captain, Brian O'Driscoll, into retirement.
"It's either going to be after the World Cup or probably that summer, 2016. It's just a decision I have to make over the next few months, I'm fairly undecided at the moment," O'Connell told Irish television station TV3.
"I think I'm in good shape at the moment, I think I'll be in good shape at the World Cup but that doesn't mean I'll keep on playing."