Sunday 19 November 2017

Sean O'Brien: Jockeys are braver and stronger than rugby stars

Sean O'Brien has high praise for jockeys
Sean O'Brien has high praise for jockeys

By Robin Schiller

Irish rugby star Sean O'Brien has taken his fair share of big hits, but the Tullow Tank feels jockeys are made of tougher stuff.

Despite the sheer physicality of his sport, the Carlow native believes that horse-riders react better to serious injuries.

"I think that's the great thing about jockeys as well. You see them there and they could be half broke up - they're probably never 100pc - but they still go out and do their job," he said.

Top jockeys including Davy Russell and Ruby Walsh often ask O'Brien how he "takes those belts", but the rugby player admits he "feels safer" on a rugby pitch than in the saddle.

"We take a lot of pounding on the body at least once a week in a full body session and then at the weekend in a game, but a jockey has the risk of a big fall every day from riding out - you'd have massive respect for jockeys," he explained.

Sean O'Brien was speaking exclusively with Niall Cronin in the Herald's 24-page glossy Cheltenham preview magazine, free with today's paper.

The magazine also features AP McCoy, Katie Walsh and an interview with Ireland international John O'Shea.


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