Monday 26 August 2019

Brian O’Driscoll: Thought of coaching just doesn't do it for me at the moment

Joe Schmidt shares a joke with Brian O’Driscoll during the World Cup
Joe Schmidt shares a joke with Brian O’Driscoll during the World Cup

Tom Rooney

Brian O’Driscoll is enjoying his weekends off far too much to give coaching a try any time soon, but he’s more than willing to work on an individual basis with any players seeking guidance.

In the lead up to his retirement in 2014, speculation was rife as to what Ireland’s greatest ever rugby player would do next.

There were many who hoped he’d stay close to the Leinster and Ireland camps, and make an immediate transition to the coaching realm, much like his old teammate Ronan O’Gara had at Racing Metro.

Instead, the four-time Lion chose to pursue avenues in the media and business. O’Driscoll is an analyst on BT Sport and on Newstalk’s Off the Ball, along with enjoying a number of other ventures.

He initially avoided coaching to not only disconnect completely from rugby, but to try and experience a more 9-5 existence. So far, so good.

“For the time being, the coaching side of things doesn’t really do it for me because I wanted my weekends back,” he said.

“I don’t do a huge amount of stuff, just the Champions Cup rugby with BT which is only nine weekends a year. And, with a couple of other brands and interests; I’m involved with the Ultimate Rugby app and that’s the kind of day-today stuff.

“So being able to get involved in that side of things is very different to what I’ve done in the past, so for the time being coaching isn’t really on my radar.”

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During Ireland’s successful Six Nations campaign in 2014, which proved O’Driscoll’s last, he worked closely with Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw who was believed to be the heir to his throne.

Subsequently, Henshaw has been deployed by Joe Schmidt as a first centre with Jared Payne largely wearing the famed number 13 jersey.

O’Driscoll is open to offering his mentorship again but, for the time being, being pitch-side with a BT microphone in his hand is close enough to the carnage.

“From a team point of view, I wanted a clean break away from it. Working on the Champions Cup allows me to still have a huge interest in the game and impart the little bit of knowledge I hope I still have.

“But I like doing a little bit of the one-on-one stuff with guys who are interested in what I have to say, and I’ll pull apart their game a little bit; I’m only too happy to help,” he said.

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