Thursday 12 December 2019

Doing Brian a disservice

• We have a dubious record of cutting down our heroes as soon as they rise. All the same, to see Brian O'Driscoll stripped of the captaincy of Ireland shocked and saddened me.

I don't wish to disparage Declan Kidney; actions speak louder, and the scoreboard has been saying an awful lot about Ireland's poor performances.

Were it not for a victory over an uncharacteristically anaemic Argentinian side, it might have been Kidney looking at his career in the rearview mirror.

What drove me to put pen to paper was the fact that O'Driscoll was rightly being spoken of as the leading contender to captain the Lions. Those who know anything about the game would recognise the poetic justice in this, given that his last occupancy of this role ended after 25 seconds with an infamous spear-tackle.

O'Driscoll is one of the world's greatest rugby icons. He has brought a passion and professionalism to Irish rugby that has been transformational.

Some years ago, Irish players were fitted with special devices, which they wore on their legs in an effort to ascertain the physical toll an international game can take.

O'Driscoll, it was reported, had suffered the same trauma as someone who had experienced the impact of five car crashes.

By now, several parts of him have been rebuilt but his spirit is as indestructible as ever.

Kidney says that stripping Brian of the captaincy need not impede any Lions ambitions.

However, Warren Gatland will hardly be encouraged to take a chance on Brian when he is not even in pole position for his own country.

Kidney said O'Driscoll was "disappointed".

I bet he was. No prophet is sacred in his own country.

Gavin Gerrard
Sandycove, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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