Sport Six Nations

Sunday 21 September 2014

Brian O'Driscoll: I've loved my time in the green jersey

Published 08/03/2014 | 16:55

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Brian O'Driscoll bade an emotional but victorious farewell to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday afternoon as Ireland kept their RBS 6 Nations title hopes alive with a crushing 46-7 win over Italy.

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The 35-year-old marked his world-record 140th Test cap by deftly setting up tries for Johnny Sexton and Andrew Trimble, teeing up the Irish for a title-decider in France next weekend.

Cian Healy, Sexton, Sean Cronin, Fergus McFadden and Jack McGrath scored further tries in a one-sided contest, but the occasion was all about O'Driscoll, who was substituted after 61 minutes to a rousing standing ovation.

And the centre fought back the tears as he admitted he was still getting used to the prospect of retirement.

"I haven't let myself think about. It's emotional," O'Driscoll said on BBC1.

"It's been a huge part of my whole adult life and to leave here it's going to be hard. But good way to leave it today and hopefully we set ourselves up for next week.

"I feel humbled by the reaction today. It seems a bit of of a joke that you get get man of the match for 60 minutes, but I've loved my time playing in this jersey. It had to come to an end at some stage and I'm glad I'm able to go out at home with a big win.

Brian O'Driscoll, Brian O'Meara and Victor Costello celebrate Leinster's victory over Munster in the 2001 Celtic League final
Brian O'Driscoll in action for Blackrock College in 1997
Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin Reddan  leave the pitch in dejection after Leinster were crushed by Toulon in the Heineken Cup quarter-final
Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin Reddan leave the pitch in dejection after Leinster were crushed by Toulon in the Heineken Cup quarter-final

"It will only properly set in when I've had a bit of time."

O'Driscoll is now hoping to end his Ireland career by lifting the Six Nations trophy in Paris next Saturday.

Brian O'Driscoll helped Ireland secure a convincing win over Italy
Brian O'Driscoll helped Ireland secure a convincing win over Italy
8 March 2014; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, with his daughter Sadie, leave the pitch after the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Ireland v Italy, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
8 March 2014; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, with his daughter Sadie, leave the pitch after the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Ireland v Italy, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 08: Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and  Mike Ross of ireland sing the National Anthem during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Italy at Aviva Stadium on March 8, 2014 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and Mike Ross of Ireland sing the National Anthem

He said: "Hopefully next week there's a performance and a championship in this team. We have to go to France with huge positivity.

"It's one thing playing in this jersey but it's another thing altogether winning in this jersey, and we've built a good standard. We're capable of doing great things and we have to start next week by trying to win a second championship as this unit of players."

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