Thursday 22 February 2018

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll is off to the World Cup

The Webb Ellis Cup sits on the pitch with rugby balls showing the venues which will be used in the England 2015 Rugby World Cup
The Webb Ellis Cup sits on the pitch with rugby balls showing the venues which will be used in the England 2015 Rugby World Cup

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll is going to the World Cup.

Ireland's Six Nations heroes will head off to this year's competition in England with high hopes of going all the way in the competition and they will do so without the services of O'Driscoll who retired last year.

But the former Leinster man has secured his ticket as he is pa rt of ITV's panel, alongside Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Robinson.

The 2003 English World Cup winners will join their former England head coach Clive Woodward for this year's tournament, which gets underway at Twickenham on 18 September when England take on Fiji.

Wales' Gareth Thomas and George Gregan of Australia are also on board while the lead presenter role has gone to John Inverdale, who has presented the BBC's Six Nations coverage since 2006.

Wilkinson kicked the winning drop goal for England against Australia in the final 12 years ago, while Robinson scored England's only try in the topsy-turvy 20-17 triumph after extra-time.

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll was a Six Nations winner last year
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll was a Six Nations winner last year

Gregan skippered Australia that day and also played in the victorious 1999 Wallabies side, but he will stand alongside Wilkinson this time rather than stand opposite the ex-fly-half.

Thomas, the first openly gay professional rugby player, reprises his broadcasting role from 2011 and O'Driscoll watches a World Cup from the sidelines for the first time since 1995 after retiring from the game last year.

Former British and Irish Lions and Scotland coach Ian McGeechan, victorious 1995 South Africa captain Francois Pienaar, New Zealand's Sean Fitzpatrick, Australia's Michael Lynagh and David Flatman complete the list of pundits.

Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said: "A Rugby World Cup hosted by England is a once in a generation event and it's our privilege as the exclusive television broadcaster to bring viewers the full impact of all the action and emotion throughout what we hope will be an unforgettable tournament.

"We believe we've assembled a world-class line up of rugby talent who, through their own expertise, experience and sheer passion for the game can help deliver the best possible coverage for those watching at home."

Additional reporting by PA

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