Sport Rugby

Thursday 23 November 2017

Brian O'Driscoll rules out extra time on 'one more year'

Brian O'Driscoll at Newstalk's studios in Dublin for 'The Pat Kenny Show'
Brian O'Driscoll at Newstalk's studios in Dublin for 'The Pat Kenny Show'
Amy Huberman with her rugby star husband Brian O'Driscoll
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Irish rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll has confirmed that this season will be his last in professional rugby, and he will be happy to follow his wife Amy Huberman's career around the world in future.

The country's record try scorer was convinced to stay on at Leinster and Ireland by new Ireland boss Joe Schmidt and the RDS crowd this year.

But he confirmed to Pat Kenny on Newstalk that this year would definitely be his last hurrah.

"This is the 'one more year'," he said. "I had to think long and hard and there were a number of factors. I had to talk to Amy and listen to my body, I had to learn if I was still wanted in the Leinster set-up and the Irish set-up," he said.

"It would be rude of me not to mention the chants from the stands in the RDS of 'one more year' – the fact that you're still wanted by the faithful does mean an awful lot too.

"I remember I had a neck operation after the World Cup in 2011 and there was talk at the time that I might not get back playing from it, and it started to hit home.

"I've been a professional rugby player all my life, I don't really know anything different. I don't really know the big bad world that regular people see.

"I have been in the process, over the last couple of years, of getting involved in things I'm interested in – but nothing will replace the feeling of running out on the pitch."

The 34-year-old and his wife had their first child in February, and O'Driscoll said he's delighted with fatherhood.

"I can't really remember what my old life was like, but it's absolutely brilliant," he said.

"I don't know how many times over the last six months she might have you up during the night, but that smile in the morning when you come in makes it all go away."

He also revealed that he is prepared to go globetrotting if it means helping his wife achieve further success in her acting and literary careers.

"I'm absolutely open to her career bringing us to whatever part of the globe it might do. She's probably hungry to get out and do some more work, she is going to the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday leaving me at home – so needless to say, I'll be over with the folks Sunday night, Monday night . . .

"I'm open to her feeling the need to capitalise on some of the great work she has done in recent years."

O'Driscoll is still disappointed by his omission from the third Test during the Lions tour, but is looking forward to the coming season with Leinster and one last chance to end the All-Blacks hoodoo, even though he expects to be playing less.

"I met up with the Irish fitness coach recently and he came up with a great phrase: 'managing expectations'. When I go in and the fitness coaches know I'm not feeling great, I'm taking it easy and and I'm doing it for a reason," he said.

"You want to win everything you are in. It would be lovely to win a championship and a Six Nations and the Heineken Cup. A big one this year is to get selected for the All-Blacks in November.

"That's one that's failed on multiple occasions – and this is the last chance to get a go at them, so that would be a lovely one if I was to pick one out for the year," he added.

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