Brian O’Driscoll clears mind for Six Nations

Brian O'Driscoll: Ready to retire. Picture: PA
Brian O'Driscoll: Ready to retire. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

Brian O’Driscoll has postponed all decisions about life after rugby until he retires at the end of the season.

Ireland’s stalwart centre is desperate to get on with life after the British and Irish Lions, though, and certainly the furore over being dropped by head coach Warren Gatland on last year’s tour Down Under.

Ireland open their RBS Six Nations campaign by hosting Scotland in Dublin on Sunday before taking on Wales six days later.

Wales boss Gatland was pilloried for dropping O’Driscoll for the Lions’ final Test in Australia before a 41-16 landslide victory to claim the series offered vindication.

The row has rumbled on, though, with Gatland admitting last week that he jokingly asked O’Driscoll to influence the Aviva Stadium crowd not to boo him.

O’Driscoll remains unsure about a career in coaching but is quite clear he has no interest in any lingering Lions pantomime. “What happened, happened, no one can change it,” said the 35-year-old.

“I don’t have any ill-will towards Warren. When it was raw afterwards your emotions are a bit different. Time does heal all wounds and I don’t have any animosity towards him.

“What I will look towards is just trying to be involved in a team that can potentially beat his team, but that’s next week. The coaching thing at the moment doesn’t really float my boat.

“Before Christmas I started thinking too much about the afterlife. There’s no rush. I’ll just enjoy the Six Nations and hopefully the knock-out parts of the Heineken Cup.

“Hopefully I can try to win some silverware, and once the season’s done and dusted and the boots are finally hung up, there will be plenty of time to think about what the next plan is.

“I don’t want to look back in a year’s time and regret not having given this time everything. That’s why I’m focusing solely on rugby and all other thoughts are on the backburner.”

O’Driscoll wrestled with retirement this time last season and decided against it. Having re-affirmed his commitment to quit in the summer come what may, the 128-cap centre revealed no torment over his future has cleared his mind for the tournament ahead.

“I was really unsure last year and it was strange emotions,” said the former Ireland skipper. “It’s nice knowing you can empty the tank in this Six Nations knowing it will be the last.”

Looking ahead to the task that presents itself this weekend, O’Driscoll says he is wary of the Scots’ “passion” and admits that Scott Johnson’s side will be “hard to shake” in Dublin on Sunday.

“Scotland have always been an awkward team to play, particularly in the tackle area and in defence,” he added. “They’re about slowing ball down and getting the outside line.

“They are trying to develop and play a more expansive game. You can see it in their Rabo teams and you have to adapt knowing that’s coming at you. And they are passionate. When they pull on the Scotland jersey they’re always passionate and if they are in the game in the last 15 minutes, they can be hard to shake.

“If you look at the last four years we’ve shared the spoils, so we have a healthy respect for them. We feel and believe that we are capable of beating them, but you don’t get results from expectation – you have to deliver.”