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'It's great to have a warrior in your dressing room like Brian O'Driscoll'

Ireland lock Donncha O’Callaghan pays credit to the former captain in what could be his final match against England.

Brian O'Driscoll gets patched up against Wales.
Brian O'Driscoll gets patched up against Wales.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

JUST BEFORE HALF-TIME in Cardiff last week, Ireland were awarded a penalty, in their own half, against Wales.

The temptation, with seconds remaining on the clock, must have been to take a quick tap or a scrum to secure possession and walk off 20-3 up at the break.

Brian O’Driscoll reared up and jogged towards Jonathan Sexton with instructions to hit the touchline in the Welsh ’22 and push for an extra score.

The former Ireland captain takes up the story.

He told TheScore.ie, “Listen, I just felt like we had a chance of picking up another three-pointer, which we managed to do, if we could get down to their territory and win a lineout.

I looked at the clock and saw there was still 30 seconds to go, to get a lineout out of it. We managed to get the lineout ball and three points that potentially could have been an very important three points.

“I don’t think that’s anything got to do with captaincy, it’s just recognising a situation and trying to react.”

As former Ireland international hooker Shane Byrne commented, following the 30-22 win in Wales, “They may have taken the captaincy away [from Brian] but he was a leader in every other form.”

Fearful

Irish lock Donncha O’Callaghan has another take on the team’s leadership switcheroo.

“It’s marketing,” he remarked.

“Drico is completely comfortable in his own skin. He’s selfless, his want for the team to do well. I can’t speak highly enough about the fella.

“He throws himself around every minute. His standards seep down to the rest.” O’Callaghan added:

It’s great to have a warrior in your room like that because it’s someone, you know, the opposition are looking over and they’re fearful of him. To have him is a massive plus.

O’Driscoll confessed, at his Wednesday press briefing, that his 34-year-old body takes more time to recover from tough matches. His mind, however, was ticking over the moment the victory in Cardiff was confirmed.

“Coming off the pitch we were pleased,” he said, “but realised that we had plenty of shortcomings. Then, looking at the video analysis of the game, you realise how far off the mark you were in certain places.”

Higher standards will be sought today and O’Driscoll shall not be found wanting.

‘Even at 14, there was something extraordinary with Farrell’ – Shane Byrne

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Patrick McCarry

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