D'Arcy quick to play down significance of reaching half century
Published 03/11/2010 | 05:00
Here's a thing. Brian O'Driscoll is waxing lyrical about how he and Gordon D'Arcy have great telepathy. He's going to make sure his old mucker has a 50th cap to remember.
"I won't be leading the team out," the great one tells us. "I'll be right behind him."
Enter "him" -- Mr D'Arcy. A puzzled expression mocks our faith in extrasensory perception. "I'm sure I won't be leading the team out," he says.
Nonplussed, he is pressed. He shakes his head violently. "No." Didn't see that coming.
Were it not for Declan Kidney, who informed us that this would indeed be the Leinster man's half-century, the honour may well have been kept firmly under wraps.
Which, to judge by D'Arcy's demeanour, is how he wanted it. "It's just a number," he says.
He thrives in the centre but not at the centre of the attention; a prying intrusion into his love interests can have hardly helped his diffident response to the media thrall.
"I suppose it's different phases in every rugby player's career," he says softly. "Now I'm just happy to be playing rugby. This (media duty) was a lot more comfortable a few years ago, but it makes me a lot more uncomfortable now. Brian has to do it because he's the captain."
At one stage, he refers to Eddie -- presumably O'Sullivan -- when speaking of the challenges that lie ahead against South Africa this weekend. When pressed, you sense a frustration that a career that began in school pants has only just reached 50 caps.
Hence his indifference to the milestone, perhaps. "There's a lot of lads in the team closing in on 100. I've been around as long as them and only have half as many caps."
He does, however, maintain that he and O'Driscoll retain some telepathic connection where it matters. On the field. "You'd hope so after 12 years," he smiles.