Tuesday 16 July 2019

Brian O'Driscoll reveals ego prevented him from wanting his replacements to do well after his retirement

Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian O'Driscoll has revealed that his ego got in the way of him wanting his replacements at No 13 to do well after he retired.

Former Ireland and Leinster star O'Driscoll, however, claimed he did not have to worry about that as he praised the efforts of firstly Jared Payne and then Garry Ringrose in filling the outside centre's boots after his retirement in 2014.

"Of course you want the team to go well, but you don't want the players that have replaced you to go extremely well. The ego in you is like 'yes, the team to be brilliant but the No 13 to be only OK' and that just didn't happen in any shape or form," said O'Driscoll on Independent.ie's Real Health Podcast in association with Laya.

"Jared Payne came in and was phenomenal and Garry Ringrose came in and is absolutely smashing it.

"There's a bit of ego in all professional athletes, so it's difficult but after a few years time you become a fan just like everybody else.

"It's taken a few years to get there but I'm definitely in a more comfortable place now."

When asked how hard he trained, O'Driscoll replied he's glad he is retired, given the training sessions that the current top-level rugby players are put through.

"With social media now you see the sessions the boys are doing and I have to say I am happy to be a 40-year-old retired rugby player," he said.

"There's no hiding any more with assault bikes and everything being programmed back into a microchip or computer where all scores are fed back into the coach.

"There used to be a time and everyone has been involved in a spin class, where the lead goes 'crank it up' and you give the oul dummy turn a couple of times. We've all done that but there is none of that anymore.

O'Driscoll also shed some light on the training regime and favourite exercises during a stellar career.

"People talk about different exercises and some people said the wheelbarrow press-ups were impossible. That for me is my bread and butter because upper-body strength would have been something that I would pride myself on and something I would do a huge amount of," he said.

"Talk about the cardio stuff and it always would have been the part of my game where I really struggled to get that level of fitness and then very quickly you would lose it if you got injured. Within a week or two if would drop off dramatically.

"Some guys would make you sick where they would go off on holidays for 26 days drinking and come back and absolutely annihilate everyone in a bleep test. I wasn't one of them, I was someone who had to work so hard."

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