"It was an experience in 2005. Luckily I've gone on since that tour to have a successful career," said O'Connell.
"No player's career is up-up-up. You have to take the rough with the smooth.
"A lot of the players came back and bounced back - we won a Heineken Cup with Munster and had a good year.
"Clive tried something different by taking a lot of players and coaching staff.
"On paper it was probably a good idea because it's such an attritional game now.
"But the trade off is you don't get to gel as a team because there are so many players. We didn't gel as well as we would have liked.
"Gelling is the most important thing to the success of the team."