"Bringing Sadie on to the pitch only added to my Lions victory joy," says Brian
The legendary rugby player opened up about his pride at getting to show off his five-month-old daughter to the world.
He will go down in rugby as The Lion King...the stuff of legends, but Brian O'Driscoll's true pride is with his family. The iconic Irish rugby star opened up about his decision to bring his nearly five-month-old daughter Sadie on to the pitch after the British and Irish Lions squad were named winners.
In a revealing interview with the Telegraph, he explains the importance of being surrounded by his family, especially since he was sensationally dropped from the squad for the final Test on Saturday.
"It was nice having my wife, daughter and extended family around this week," he explained. "It would have been tough sharing disappointment down a phone line.
"I was able to arrange with my wife beforehand that if we did win I would be able to go and get my daughter, Sadie. In the past, I have looked at footballers bringing their kids on to field and wondered what that was all about. But you cannot help yourself. You are so proud of this little person you want her to share in your moment for posterity and all those sort of things. It definitely added to the occasion for me."
O'Driscoll candidly spoke of his disappointment at being dropped last minute by Warren Gatland for his last ever Lions tour. "From Wednesday onwards, hearing the news of the team and not being involved, then having to sit through the game, was tough," he explained.
"I have been so lucky not to have experienced being dropped before. I got dropped as a 17-year-old in a schools game and I got the shepherd’s hook once in an under‑21s game with 20 minutes to go against Wales. But I have never been dropped in my professional career.
"I got the tap on the shoulder on Wednesday morning when I was at the coffee machine. Gats and Rob Howley wanted to have a quiet word. I realised a quiet word in the meeting room was not a good sign. They were not about to ask me to be captain. That would have been said to me there and then. It was a blow," he added in his interview with the Telegraph.
"Having seen others react in the past to being dropped has given me an insight into how to respond and behave properly. I have seen guys who are dead men walking on tours when they have not been selected and you cannot be that person. The tour is not about you. For you, the decision is huge.
"For everyone else, you are just one component of it. You deal with your own disappointment in your own way, behind closed doors but publicly you have to realise that the bigger picture is not your selection, it is about winning the series. It is about doing the right thing for everyone, setting the tone around the lads, doing what needs to be done at training, trying to be positive when you have a big inner disappointment.
Credit to squad players who have had to do this sort of thing before me, put on the defence bib at training and really mean it out there. It is not easy, keeping your standards up at training. I have said all along on this tour, that it is the contributions of everyone that will make or break it.
That was true and remains true. Suddenly I was that person. You cannot say things one week and then behave differently. You have to suck it up. I hope I did my bit last week."