O’Driscoll open to idea of joining Cheika at Stade Francais

BRIAN O’Driscoll has raised the prospect of eventually linking up with Michael Cheika when the outgoing Leinster coach joins Stade Francais.

Any move would not take place until after next year’s World Cup when the Ireland captain’s contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union expires.

O’Driscoll held talks with Biarritz in 2005 before re-signing with the IRFU but could be lured to Paris, following in the footsteps of Cheika who will depart for the French capital at the end of the season.

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“I don’t rule anything out,” said O’Driscoll. “[In the past] I did have a big interest in moving. I was a bit dismayed about Leinster going through three coaches in three years. I wondered were Leinster going anywhere, but Michael Cheika gave us that stability.

“But that doesn’t mean you have to stay in one club for your whole career. If the situation arose, I’d certainly be open to the idea of it. I still have 18 months left on my current contract. I’ll wait until he [Cheika] gets over to Paris and see if he wants an old, battered 32-year-old. I’m really happy where I am and enjoying my rugby. I’ll cross that bridge but it will be further down the track.”

O’Driscoll is expected to be fit for tonight’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Clermont at the RDS after spending the last three weeks out with a strained medial knee ligament.

And he has dismissed suggestions that French clubs continue to suffer from travel sickness in the competition as out of date.

It has been five years since a French team has claimed European club rugby’s greatest prize, a statistic explained by their poor form on the road and their prioritising of the domestic league.

O’Driscoll, however, believes the runners-up of the last three Top 14 finals are capable of triumphing at any ground as Leinster launch the final stage of their title defence. “The suggestion that French sides are bad travellers is old news as far as we’re concerned,” said the Ireland captain. “We know that Clermont performed so strongly in Thomond Park last year and that they will take confidence from that game, so coming to the RDS will hold no fear for them.

“They are a side who are capable of going anywhere, playing well and winning. I’m sure they would like nothing better than to come over here and spoil the party.

“The Heineken Cup is a great competition and winning it last year has made it attainable for us.”