Rugby

Wednesday 23 July 2014

'Count me out of World Cup', says O'Driscoll

O'Driscoll ends 2015 talk after insisting he'll only do one more year

David Kelly

Published 22/05/2013|04:00

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Brian O’Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll has backtracked on his desire to feature in an unprecedented fifth World Cup in 2015 by stressing that he will only extend his career by one more year.

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Brian O'Driscoll has backtracked on his desire to feature in an unprecedented fifth World Cup in 2015 by stressing that he will only extend his career by one more year.

The former Ireland captain – who has also declared his fitness ahead of Leinster's Pro12 final against Ulster at the RDS this Saturday – had indicated in recent interviews that he was open to extending his career still further.

And incoming Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, not to mention skipper Jamie Heaslip, had also expressed a commitment to investigating whether O'Driscoll could be persuaded to feature in the showpiece 2015 event.

However O'Driscoll (34) has confirmed that he will only play for one more season with both Leinster and Ireland, having signed a new deal with the IRFU last week following much speculation about his future plans, claiming that family commitments were to the forefront of that decision.

"I really am not ready for a year of speculation," he said. "It is going to be just the one. I can't handle that in every interview that I do.

"I know with my wife, I did agree to do just one more. I did say as well when I was talking about a World Cup, that means three pre-seasons. I don't have another three pre-seasons in me.

"It was probably quite recently that I made the decision."

"There were lots of different factors in who was going to come in as national coach. And then who was going to come in at provincial level.

"From a family situation then in terms of what my wife's set-up was, we've a new baby girl. And also how my body was. All of those factors come into things.

"So it was about weighing up all those options and wondering was I ready to give it up, knowing that I wouldn't be playing any more and you're a long time retired.

"I just felt that I still had plenty to give to be able to allow myself one more year.

"I'm excited and relived not to answer those questions all the time. Now there's new questions. It's a relief putting all that speculation behind you."

However, he reiterated that his family situation was paramount.

"It was a big thing talking to my wife," he added. "And talking about physical health and her career situation. She is an actress. If she happened to get a job outside of Ireland, in the UK or further afield...

"When you have a little daughter, it brings a different dimension into spending time apart. That's a big factor in discussing things. When it's a case of just one year, we could make certain sacrifices and be able to deal with it."

Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree last night suggested that Sean O'Brien could play in the Pro12 final, a day after Warren Gatland appeared to rule him out for a month. "He's got much better in the last 24 hours so in terms of this week's final, watch this space," said Rowntree.

Irish Independent

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