Thursday 19 April 2018

We may rue lost chance to plan for World Cup by blooding new No 13

Who can fill Brian O'Driscoll's shoes?
Who can fill Brian O'Driscoll's shoes?

Donny Mahoney

The retirement of Brian O'Driscoll feels a lot like death these days – you know it's going to happen eventually, but by avoiding the thought, it seems possible to postpone its inevitability. If only it were so.

O'Driscoll faced the rugby press pack on Monday ahead of his Aviva swansong. He was articulate and insightful as ever, especially when asked about the merits of the candidates for his No 13 shirt. Such is the good will he's earned, and his ability as a salesman, that you'd listen to him big up the likes of Cave, Henshaw, McFadden and Fitzgerald and take the irish legend at his word – that we won't even notice his departure.

I don't know what will happen to Ireland once O'Driscoll walks away from rugby, but I do know this – Ireland has a World Cup to play across the Irish Sea in 18 months.

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