Saturday 20 January 2018

Rob backs BOD to kick-start the party

Mick Galway and Brian O'Driscoll
Mick Galway and Brian O'Driscoll
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

He partied in his tuxedo until 5am after that famous victory in 2000 and Brian O'Driscoll is looking for a repeat performance today.

A massive challenge lies ahead as Joe Schmidt's side take on France in the final clash of the 2014 Six Nations.

But there's nothing like a party in Paris after a smashing Six Nations victory – and British and Irish Lion O'Driscoll is eager to bow out in fitting fashion.

For the 34-year-old, the afternoon is one of as much personal significance as it is professional.

Retired rugby player Rob Henderson played inside centre to O'Driscoll 14 years ago in Paris, when BOD formally introduced himself to the international stage with a hat-trick of tries.

The epic encounter in 2000 was fairytale stuff and fans will be praying for a repeat this evening at the Stade de France.

The post-match festivities were momentous for the heroic Irish players that famous day and Henderson says he knows what it will mean for his former international teammate BOD to have another party, Paris-style.

"We went out and enjoyed ourselves to the full that night in 2000. I came back to hotel at 3am in my tuxedo and spotted young Brian sleeping on the couch and thought, 'We can't leave him here', so we picked him up and went back out in the city and eventually stumbled back at 5am.

"The team warmdown the next day was by the Eiffel Tower and I think it was one of the only times that there were guys running around in black-tie and were actually allowed to, because of the win and how huge it was," he said.

"Nights out after games were and still are special.

"It's appropriate that Paris is Brian's last game – he's finishing up where it all began really.

"He grabbed that match by the scruff of the neck to help secure our win and he can absolutely do the same again.

"We definitely let our hair down in 2000 and if Ireland win, it will certainly be on the cards for the boys tonight," he told this newspaper.

While history has taught us that this evening's match, which kicks off at 6pm French time, will be difficult, Henderson is confident BOD and the boys can prove triumphant.

"France are one of those teams that if they have game face on it'll be harder, but I fully expect us to win over there."

Irish Independent

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