Thursday 21 November 2019

No higher praise: Australia will be relieved at O’Driscoll’s fate

CLICHE and hyperbole are part and parcel of modern sport. Minor talents become wizards and artisans can be transformed into geniuses by virtue of one eye-catching performance. This works across all sports, both team and individual.

In fact, there is so much of this white noise that sometimes we don't even get to hear it.

So when Brian O'Driscoll is described as a warrior and the greatest rugby union player this island has ever produced, it would be easy not to take any notice.

But this is one occasion when we should.

Because BOD is both of these things and more.

In fact, his reputation goes far beyond these islands, or even this hemisphere.

No need here to rewind his career, but even those with a casual interest in rugby will be well aware of his achievements.

In his younger days, it was his dazzling attacking play. As time went on we got to marvel at the brilliance and courage of his defence game.

We'll let the experts opine on the tactical merits or otherwise of Warren Gatland's decision to drop him for next Saturday's crucial Test against Australia.

But the flimsiest of knowledge of the sport would tell you that to lose a leader and fighter of his quality and reputation has to cost this Lions team.

And imagine the psychological boost it is to Australia not to have to face a man each one respects and fears.

It was a mark of the man that rather than retreat into a dark corner yesterday, he immediately tweeted how it was all about victory for the team at the weekend.

That is the mark of a true sportsman. There is no higher praise and no hyperbole necessary.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss