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Brian O'Driscoll watch

Nick Purewal

Published 22/02/2014 | 18:44

Ireland centre Brian O' Driscoll makes a break during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham
Ireland centre Brian O' Driscoll makes a break during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll hobbles off during the RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham

Timeless centre Brian O'Driscoll equalled George Gregan's world-record 139 caps in his final Twickenham appearance for Ireland.

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Here, Nick Purewal reviews the 35-year-old's impact as England edged out Ireland 13-10 in the RBS 6 Nations.

ATTACK:

The Leinster and Ireland talisman has lost his outside break with the passing of time, but coach Joe Schmidt deduced a clever way to get around that lack of pace.

O'Driscoll faked for Luther Burrell's outside shoulder in the first half, creating the space for Dave Kearney to scythe back on the inside.

The only problem was England's gritty defence was up to the scramble challenge, and that particular trick play was left unrewarded.

Ireland had precious few other opportunities to send their stalwart centre into defence-breaking situations, and when he popped up with the ball either Courtney Lawes or Billy Twelvetrees sat him back down.

DEFENCE:

Wales' Jamie Roberts skinned O'Driscoll on the outside two weeks ago, a feat that would have angered the long-serving 13.

England could launch no repeat, as O'Driscoll was as solid as ever without the ball.

But Ireland's defensive backline lynchpin was powerless to stop Danny Care race through for the match-defining try, as England simply worked the visitors out of cover.

LEADERSHIP:

Once again O'Driscoll, in tandem with captain O'Connell, was the man desperately grafting and trying to cajole something special from Ireland at the death.

But there could be no superlative comeback, and O'Driscoll could not add a record ninth victory over England to his other stunning tally of international rugby accolades.

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