IRELAND CENTRE BRIAN O’DRISCOLL has set his sights high for the final year of his professional rugby career. During an appearance on the Late Late Show, O’Driscoll targeted a Six Nations Grand Slam and a victory over the world champion All Blacks in November.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on the RTÉ talk show, Ireland’s record try-scorer confirmed he would be hanging up his rugby boots at the end of the season. He insisted he would not be around for a fifth tilt at the World Cup, in 2015, before adding Ireland would not ‘have a bigger cheerleader than me if they get into the final’.
“It is going to be the last year but I don’t want it to be the long goodbye,” said O’Driscoll. The 34-year-old remarked that success had made him selfish, stressing a desire to win ever pot his club and country are in the mix for this season.
Winning a Six Nations Grand Slam, he reasoned, is far from easy but capturing his second Six Nations crown is an achievable goal. Add that to the double — Pro12 and Heineken Cup — he wants to win with Leinster in 2014. Yet O’Driscoll is not finished there. He declared:
I get one more crack at the All Blacks and, please God, [Ireland coach] Joe Schmidt will think of me in terms of selection… No Irish team, no national team, has ever beaten them.”
O’Driscoll needed no reminding that Munster beat a touring All Blacks side in the 1978 and allowed himself to picture the plaudits that would await Ireland if they topple them at the Aviva Stadium next month.
O’Driscoll also touched on his experiences with the Lions during the summer, including his controversial axing. He brought his gumshield along to the Third Test against Australia in case Welsh centre Jamie Roberts pulled up with a late injury. “I thought the lads would think I was mental if brought my boots,” he joked.
Ultimately, he added, thoughts of his wife, Amy Huberman, and daughter, Sadie, brought him out of a brief period of sullen reflection. He said, “You have perspective when little people come into your life. You take the best things you have and let them overshadow your disappointment.”
Huberman, sitting in the Late Late audience, revealed she watched O’Driscoll and Ireland take on England from her hospital bed, hours after giving birth to Sadie earlier this year. The new mum was told to keep her voice down as she was bellowing in support of her husband in a busy Holles Street maternity ward.
Steve Coogan, Ryan Tubridy, Amy Huberman and Brian O’Driscoll pose backstage at the Late Late show. Credit: RTÉ — Maxwell