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'I don't think we've seen the last of him yet' - Calls for O'Driscoll to play on

Keith Earls, Donnacha Ryan and Maxime Medard lavished the legendary centre with praise after Ireland and France drew.

Amy Huberman and baby Sadie greet O'Driscoll after the match.
Amy Huberman and baby Sadie greet O'Driscoll after the match.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE IMMEDIATE REPORT on Brian O’Driscoll’s fitness, following Ireland’s 13-13 draw with France, was that he had sustained ‘a heavy blow to the leg’ and needed stitches to his left ear.

Anyone viewing the Ireland centre as he left the pitch in a daze will be keenly aware of the blows he shipped to keep Ireland in the match.

O’Driscoll should travel to Australia this summer on the Lions tour, his fourth, and may call it an international day after the Third Test at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney will hope to utilise his skill and bravery on last time, against Italy, next week but stated his belief after the game that O’Driscoll has more to give at international level.

Having received treatment just after the 70-minute mark, O’Driscoll twice threw himself at Frenchmen with distinct height and weight advantages as Ireland repulsed a French wave.

A scrum was awarded to the home side and common sense intervened. O’Driscoll was replaced by Conor Murray and assisted up the touchline by two members of the coaching staff.

France then scored after a quick-tap penalty and drive by Louis Picamoles. Frederic Michalak slotted the conversion. Brian O’Driscoll ran back onto the field and the crowd erupted.

Asked if the sight of their backline leader rejoining the battle helped motivate the players in the final stages, Keith Earls told TheScore.ie, “Of course it does.” He added:

When you see a fella who doesn’t know where he is one minute and comes back on with his head all strapped up; he’s a true warrior.

“In all the world, I’ve never seen anyone like him.”

10 more years

There is a strong possibility that O’Driscoll has played his last match at Lansdowne Road, while Donncha O’Callaghan, on the verge of tears during the anthems, will not be in the second row shake-up by the Autumn internationals.

Changing of the guard: O’Driscoll with Luke Marshall and Paddy Jackson. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

“I think Drico is playing brilliant,” Donnacha Ryan told TheScore.ie. “As long as he continues to do that, age is only a number so he should keep going.

“They’d be better qualified to answer your question than me but they are great leaders.

Drico, for me, has been awesome. They should give him a development contract and sign him up for another 10 years, the way he’s going.”

The French players admitted they were lucky to get back into a match they trailed 13-3 at the break and paid credit to the tenacity of O’Driscoll.

Winger Maxime Medard said, “O’Driscoll is a legend and he showed that again tonight. I don’t think we have seen the last of him yet.”

Snapshot: Was that Brian O’Driscoll’s last game at Lansdowne Road?

Man of the match Murray backs decision to replace him on the hour

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Patrick McCarry

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