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A personal decision, but O’Driscoll playing on is great for Irish rugby

As long as you’re happy with your performance and appetite for the game, retirement can be pushed down the road, writes David Wallace.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IT WAS A text message this morning that told me  about Brian O’Driscoll’s decision to play on for another year.

Quite simply, it’s brilliant news.

It’s great for O’Driscoll, and it’s also great for Irish rugby.

The fact that the new Ireland coach has come in and he has had good dealings with him at Leinster might help to freshen things up on the international scene.

The decision of whether to retire or go on for another 12 months is not easy, but each individual has their own set of factors to mull over.

Brian has a wife and child now who he will want to spend more time with. That’s a very important consideration on top of how you feel about the sport, how you feel about your body and what your body is telling you. I know only too well what that’s like.

Retiring has been great to me, but he might have regretted it or thought that he had left something behind.

Looking back on my own situation, in some ways I think it’s nearly better to be pushed than jump of your own accord. You always worry about playing on and on, trying to get back to the height that you were at and sometimes it doesn’t happen.

Having said that, in the summer before the 2011 World Cup, all my performance graphs were going the right way. My scores and tests were probably better than they had ever been. But tests are one thing. The wear and tear on the joints is another.

There was nothing that would have caused me to retire until the injury against England. I was ready to play on for a couple of more years just to see how we go.

The number of years next to your name shouldn’t be a reason to retire. It’s forced upon you sometimes by outside influences, and that’s something O’Driscoll definitely felt. But as long as you’re happy with your game, the sport and you still have an appetite for it (and maybe you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of the family life) you should stick with it because you’ll be retired long enough.

I spoke to Donncha O’Callaghan recently and I told him there’s no way he should even be thinking about retiring. He’s the kind of guy who always plays at a good solid standard and never really picks up any injuries or anything like that.

Doug Howlett on the other hand did retire this week. He has been a fantastic servant – and one of the leading try-scorers – with any team he played with, be it the Blues, Munster or the All Blacks. However, his body was maybe  telling him enough signs. Coming off an Achilles and into a shoulder injury,  that takes its toll on your body.

O’Driscoll has always said he will listen to his body, and I’m glad it has relayed some good news to him.

David Wallace is an ambassador for Core150 protein shakers. Check them out on Core150.com.

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About the author:

David Wallace  / Former Munster and Ireland flanker.

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