BRIAN O'DRISCOLL believes that the Heineken Cup will endure beyond his final season in some shape or form.
The European competition kicks off tomorrow with a major cloud hanging over its future, with English and French clubs pledging to set up their own tournament, but the former Ireland captain reckons that a solution will be found to the impasse.
In an exclusive interview in tomorrow's Irish Independent Heineken Cup magazine, O'Driscoll said: "Something will be worked out. What that will be, I don't know. There's definitely going to have to be some kind of compromise from the Celtic nations' side of things with regard to revenue.
"I'm in a kind of strange situation. I love the competition and don't want it to change. But I'm not as affected by what's going on now as I would be if I had another four or five years' playing ahead of me.
"I know I'm getting to play in the last Heineken Cup under its current format and, without sounding selfish about it, that means it doesn't have as much effect on me as it has on other guys."
"It's too early to say. It has been a tough time," he admitted in a candid exclusive interview.
"It was always going to be hard to deal with guys naturally coming to retirement age, Quinny (Alan Quinlan), Axel (Anthony Foley) and John Hayes – without getting enforced ones like Ian Dowling, (Barry) Murphy, Jerry Flannery and Wally (David Wallace)."