Published 08/03/2014 | 06:25
Ronan O’Gara has hailed his former teammate Brian O’Driscoll as a “special player” ahead of his final appearance in Dublin and said great days are in store for the Irish legend.
The Leinster centre will don the Irish number 13 jersey for the final time at the Aviva against the Italians in what will be a world record 140th international appearance.
Racing Metro coach O’Gara soldiered with O’Driscoll from his debut in 2000 until his retirement last year and in the pantheon of Irish rugby players, the Cork man believes that O’Driscoll is at the top of the pile.
“He has been Ireland’s best player and can be so proud of what he has achieved,” the former Munster outhalf said.
He also says that no matter what O’Driscoll says now, the daywill probably have more of an effect on him that he realises.
“These things can do strange things to you.”
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, Ireland is tackled by Daniel Herbert, Australia, Australia v Ireland, Subiaco Oval, Perth in 1999 in one of his first caps
Brian O'Driscoll on his way to scoring his first ever try for Ireland against the USA in the 1999 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll scores his first Six Nations try against Scotland in 2000 at Landsdowne Road
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates one of his three tries against France in 2000.
19 March 2000; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll leaves french full back Emile Ntamack behind to score his third try
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates victory over France in the 2000 Six Nations
Brian O'Driscoll in action against the Springboks in 2000
Brian O'Driscoll makes his Barbarians debut in 2000
Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Henderson and Keith Wood joke around during the 2001 Lions tour
British and Irish Lions player Brian O'Driscoll breaks away to score the third try against Australia during the First Test match at The Gabba, Brisbane, 30th June 2001.
Brian O'Driscoll on his way to scoring his famous try against Australia in the First Test of the 2001 Lions Series.
Brian O'Driscoll tries to get out of a ruck in a game against Australia in 2002
Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie celebrate victory over Australia in 2002
Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland, kicks a drop goal in the narrow defeat to Australia at the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll dives over in the corner for a try against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after Ireland's victory over England in Twickenham in 2004
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with coach Eddie O'Sullivan at the end of the game versus Scotland in Lansdowne Road in 2004 after winning the Triple Crown
Brian O'Driscoll is forced to leave the field after being the victim of a spear tackle that ended his Lions Tour in 2005
BOD holds the Triple Crown trophy aloft after victory over England at Twickenham
Ireland's captain Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Triple Crown following the match against England at Twickenham, March 18, 2006.
Brian O'Driscoll dots down against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in 2007
Brian O'Driscoll dives over to score Ireland's first try during the final Pool D match at Parc des Princes in Paris during the 2007 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll scores a brilliantly improvised try for Leinster against Wasps in the Pool Stages of the 2008/09 Heineken Cup
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll tackles Munster's Paul O'Connell during the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final in Croke Park.
Brian O'Driscoll races clear of Munster’s Ronan O’Gara, whose pass he intercepted, on his way to scoring his side’s
third try in Leinster's Heineken Cup semi-final win at Croke Park in 2009
Rocky Elsom with team-mate Brian O'Driscoll in 2009 after Leinster's first Heineken Cup success
Brian O'Driscoll, Rocky Elsom, Felipe Contepomi and Gordon D'Arcy celebrate after Leinster's
Heineken Cup victory in 2009
Brian O'Driscoll (centre) of Leinster raises the Heineken Cup after winning the Heineken Cup Final between Leicester Tigers and Leinster at Murrayfield on May 23, 2009
Brian with the Six Nations and Triple Crown trophies following Ireland's success in 2009
Brian O’Driscoll captained Ireland to first Grand Slam in 61 years
Brian O'Driscoll in action for the British and Irish Lions in 2009. Photo: Getty Images
Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman tied the knot in July 2010.
Shane Horgan lifting the Heineken Cup with Brian O’Driscoll in 2011. Sportsfile
Shane Horgan celebrates winning the 2011 Heineken Cup with team-mate and friend Brian O'Driscoll
Joe Schmidt with Brian O’Driscoll after the 2011 Heineken Cup final victory.
Brian O'Driscoll trudges off the pitch following Ireland's defeat to Wales in the Rugby World Cup Quarter final in 2011
Gordon D'Arcy, left, and Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster celebrate Leinster's victory in the Heineken Cup in 2011
19 May 2012; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, celebrates after the game. Heineken Cup Final, Leinster v Ulster, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, England. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after victory over Ulster. Heineken Cup Final, Leinster v Ulster, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, England. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian O'Driscoll shows his delight at winning the Lions Test series in Australia last year despite being omitted from the final test.
Brian O'Driscoll and his daughter Sadie following the British & Irish Lions victory last year
Brian O'Driscoll throws his boots into the crowd as he celebrates Leinster's win in the Rabodirect Pro12 Grand final last year at the RDS
Brian O'Driscoll on his great partnership with D'Arcy
Brian O'Driscoll sits in the sin bin during Ireland's Six Nations defeat to Italy last year
Brian O'Driscoll: Ireland's most capped centre has suffered multiple high-profile head injuries down the years, most notably during a game against England in 2009
Brian O'Driscoll and his father Frank. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Brian O'Driscoll reacts to the final minute try that helped New Zealand to a 24-22 win at the Aviva last November. BOD never tasted victory over the All Blacks.
Brian O'Driscoll is given a guard of honour at his final captain's run at the Aviva
Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland, celebrates with team-mate Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney at the final whistle.
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates Photo: Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton, left, and Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with the trophy following their side's victory
Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster, looks on during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster in April
Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin Reddan leave the pitch in dejection after Leinster were crushed by Toulon in the Heineken Cup quarter-final
“Now that he is a dad too he will probably appreciate it more, but I think you can put rugby into perspective.”
“It is the end of one chapter, but the beginning of another. He has some great days ahead of him.”
O’Gara also suggested that the dressing room environment will be the thing O’Driscoll will miss more than anything else.
“The big thing I miss is the team environment and camaraderie.”
“It’s a little more difficult when you are outside the inner circle, you just have to make more of an effort.”