Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# 6 Nations
Kidney calls for talismanic Brian O'Driscoll to kick on
Hate to bring it up, but this could be BOD’s last run-out at Lansdowne Road.

IRELAND COACH Declan Kidney hopes today’s match with France will not be Brian O’Driscoll’s last in the Six Nations at Lansdowne Road.

The 34-year-old centre is his country’s second-most capped player, but like Kidney, there is conjecture over his future.

O’Driscoll could retire after thmoe Six Nations while few expect the coach’s contract to be renewed after a disappointing campaign that has only yielded one win from three games. Amid the speculation, Kidney has made it clear he wants O’Driscoll to continue.

“I hope it won’t be,” Kidney said. “I think that’s up to Brian to decide. I thought he had a smashing game against Wales. To turn out the day of the England match (after the birth of his daughter) just shows his passion for the whole thing.

“Who knows? Just like Jamie (Heaslip) said we can’t know the future. Please God it won’t be. This will be just another game to add to his tally.”

Kidney fears another veteran, Frederic Michalak, could have an impact on the game in Dublin, saying the French out-half is a player who sees opportunities others don’t.

“He can open up defences, he finds openings where other people don’t see them,” Kidney said. “He has that sort of vision really to be able to do that and in games like this.

“They’ve been tight over the last couple of years and it’s probably what they’ve gone after. I think there are a lot of combinations in their backline, who can play off each other pretty well.”

Meanwhile, Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip says he is still learning his role as skipper ahead of the showdown with France. Heaslip’s selection as captain, ahead of long-serving skipper O’Driscoll, was seen by many as a nod to the future.

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However, both his and the team’s underwhelming performances have led to scrutiny of the appointment.

“On Tuesday at the media day (I was asked) have you learned everything you need to learn regards to captaincy? I said ‘no, you never stop learning’,” said Heaslip. So I’m always trying to pick up stuff, we’ve got so much experience in the team in all different ways.

“I’m really enjoying it. From a team point of view it’s a massive challenge, as captain I have to lead by example I suppose.”

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