IT was only recently Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll was moved to contact a radio station to congratulate the Irish cricket team on beating England at the World Cup.
As a spectator, he must have gotten caught up in the moment just as much as anyone else. He cannot afford such an objective luxury this evening.
No matter how he plays a straight bat back at the media, this one always matters more than most. That will quickly become evident if Ireland can finally find the 80 minutes they have been looking for at The Aviva.
“It is not about making up or a make-or-break game. It is just a game. When you win two and lose two and you don’t have anything tangible to play for it is just an opportunity to build going into an important six or seven months period,” he said. “That is the way we are looking at it. We would obviously prefer to win more games than we lose in this Six Nations. There is no point of making more of it than it is”.
To this point, Ireland have a 50pc return from their wins over Italy and Scotland and their controversial largely self-inflicted defeats by France and Wales. It could all be so different. The captain has to deal in the here and now not what might have been. “We’re not going to win a Championship. We’re not going to win a Triple Crown. It is a single game. “We always enjoy playing them because of the history between the two countries. It is a very big game, added, from an English perspective, to by the fact that there is a Slam attainable at the end of it”.
There has been much made of the gap in experience between O’Driscoll and the man mountain England centre Matt Banahan (inset), more commonly used as a wing by Bath and England. “I am not going to give them anything to be able to pin up on their wall. I have made that error in the past. It won’t be the case (this time),” he responded. “I am sure of where they might have frailty or two. We are not going to make them aware of where it is, from our point of view. We’ll try and show that tomorrow.”
IRELAND v ENGLAND, Live RTÉ2/BBC1 (KO 5.0)