Seán O'Brien was always one to put it all out on the pitch and his performances became the stuff of legend. So, it's no surprise that his recently penned autobiography Fuel doesn't shy away from the off-field mistakes that some would harshly argue tarnish his legacy.
The man fondly known as the 'Tullow Tank' is a generational talent from a rugby backwater who put his beloved locality on the map.
And, despite his success with Leinster, Ireland and the Lions, and the fact that he commanded universal respect across the game for his teak-tough, brilliant performances, he has remained remarkably true to himself throughout.
Speaking from London as he juggled the last of his book promotion with preparing for today's season-opener for London Irish against Worcester, he sounds exactly the same as the young gun who sat opposite me upstairs in Supermac's on Dublin's O'Connell Street in 2010 and spoke about his frustration at a lack of opportunities for club and country.
O'Brien was full of self-belief without being cocky. He knew how good he could be if given a chance and, lo and behold, a year later he was starring at the World Cup.
When sitting down with his ghostwriter Gerry Thornley, he wanted to be true to himself and his voice shines through.
"I've tried to do that, throughout my career I've tried to continue to be the same person and, you know, stay true to myself," he says. "I hope I've done that for my whole career. And that's what I kind of hope some of the other lads would have said about me too in terms of my character and the way I was on and off the field.
"I like to think I've kept that through my whole career."
He has retained a connection to home and fully intends to play for Tullow RFC when he finishes up as a pro, but the price for his grounded authenticity is perhaps his very human capacity to make mistakes.
The most high-profile moment came at the very end of his time at Leinster as he and his team-mates celebrated their PRO14 win in a Dublin pub.
O'Brien details the incident and the aftermath in matter-of-fact detail in his book. An IRFU hearing found him guilty of bringing the game into disrepute by urinating in public and splashing a member of public, having a verbal exchange with the man and having his top off in public. The union fined him and warned him for the breach of their code of conduct.
"I'm sorry it ever happened. It shouldn't have happened and it was my fault," he writes.
Although many people have made mistakes on nights out, few have his profile and with recognition comes responsibility. It's not the only incident he puts in the book, nor is it the only time his name has flown around social media like wildfire.
All he can do is put his hand up and try and move on, while learning from the error of his ways.
"It's trying not to put yourself in those positions," he sighs. "And early on, I did. Later on, I did again.
"It's the world we live in now, it's a tricky place in terms of social media and that type of thing. But you just have to be so self-aware. And I wasn't on a few occasions, and that's on me.
"They are (harsh lessons), but that's life. Everyone makes stupid mistakes and you have to deal with the consequences and move on."
There are some who will jump on his every utterance and say his indiscretions sully his playing legacy, which would be harsh in the extreme.
"You hope it doesn't. Because, there's a human element to it too, isn't there?" he says.
"If someone is going to remember me for all the mistakes I made in my life that's on them. I hope they remember all the good days too.
"I can't control any of that, I'm afraid. That's up to the individuals themselves."
Although the subject matter can't have been comfortable, O'Brien says the only area he visited in the book that gave him pause was the chapter about his parents' break-up during his teenage years and the impact it had on his life.
"I didn't struggle with anything there, really, because the only thing I was kind of apprehensive about was my family stuff," he explains.
"Just because I knew just, you know, my mam would be quite an emotional character anyway. So, I knew that might be tough for her to see that.
"The rest of it was fine because it was just it's me and the actual story from my life right up to the very end.
"That's just the way it is."
The extracts that were published before the book came out centred on that deeply personal chapter, but a social media post centred on one quote that brought plenty of ire from soccer fans.
"It's been a source of sadness in my life for a long time, and sport was my release," O'Brien wrote. "The great thing about rugby, in particular, is that it teaches you about respect. If I had continued to play soccer after 16 or 17 I'd have gone the opposite way. I could have been an angry man."
O'Brien is aware of the furore and wants to put people right.
This, he says, was a personal point about where he was at that time in his life rather than some attack on a rival sport and its values.
"The point I was making was about that stage of my career," he says.
"It wasn't directed just at soccer. It was directed at the fact that at that point in my career, rugby was the thing that was actually keeping me on the right track.
"Whatever way the quote was, it was. The soccer lads probably jumped on it straight away. But like I played soccer, I played soccer, football, I played every sport and I enjoyed every sport.
"My point was, rugby was the one at that stage in my life when I was that age that I started to kind of get that bit of calmness about me and settle a little bit. I was growing up a little bit, and that's all it was, really."
I put it to him that the controlled violence of the game probably fitted where he was at and gave him a chance to get things out of his system.
"There's a lot of that as well," he agrees.
"There's a physical element, you get to hit people legally. You get to carry a ball, run over fellas.
"There's a lot of that kind of thing at that stage of my life that I was really enjoying. It was my release.
"That's the way it was and that's why I really started to hone in on that stage, because it was suiting me and it was making me be better you know at some of the things I wasn't so good at at that stage. So now I'm not sure."
From there, he made it to UCD, before playing for Leinster and starring for the Lions on two successive tours.
He's a passionate advocate of the club game and an aspiring coach who wants to stay in the sport, but he has unfinished business with London Irish for whom he has played just three times because of the serious hip surgery he underwent after his final Leinster game.
Certainly, there's no sense that he's done yet but the publication of a book does bring with it a chance to reflect on his achievements.
"I get a sense of satisfaction probably in that I had a big part to play in the development of what Leinster is now. I had a big part to play in what Ireland is now," he reflects.
"I definitely feel I left both of those places in a better place than when I went in first.
"I know a lot of people say that and I genuinely believe that.
"I'm proud that, whatever number of games I played, I played my hardest for either the blue of Leinster or the green of Ireland.
"You put your body through so much to do that too, I'm proud of everything I did in my career.
"I don't owe anything to anyone."