Tuesday 25 June 2019

Video: Brian O'Driscoll on famous tomato quote – I just wanted to see Gordon D'Arcy get a 'back, sack and crack wax'

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"

Brian O'Driscoll with teammate Gordon D'Arcy on international duty for Ireland
Brian O'Driscoll with teammate Gordon D'Arcy on international duty for Ireland

Declan Whooley

Brian O'Driscoll has revealed that his famous tomato quote when questioned about England coach Martin Johnson resulted in Gordon D'Arcy being forced into a thorough waxing.

Ireland's victory over England in the 2009 Six Nations will be remembered for the emotional pre-match scenes at Croke Park and an emphatic victory, but the press conference involving O'Driscoll in the lead-up to the crunch encounter has also gone down in folklore.

The Ireland captain was asked what it was like to play with Martin Johnson during their time with the Lions and the smirking Dubliner was able to spring the rather unusual, but correct, statement regarding tomatoes.

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad," he said much to the amusement of the media.

In an interview with Clare Balding on BT Sport, being broadcast on Thursday night, O’Driscoll explained that it came about after a bet with Leinster team-mate Gordon D'Arcy and involved a smooth forfeit.

"It didn’t matter what the question was because that was my answer to it," he told Balding. "It just happened to be referencing Martin Johnson. I didn’t even hear what the question was because I’d just decided…the bet had been with my centre partner Gordon D’Arcy.

"Every day we get an itinerary and thought of the day and this was Rala’s (Patrick O'Reilly) thought of the day, our bag man.

"So he said to me in the dressing room before the press conference, ‘I bet you, some forfeit, that you can’t get that into the press conference’. So sure enough I got it in."

When the host compared the one-liner to that of Eric Cantona's sardines quote from 1995 and questioned whether that too may have been a though of the day, O'Driscoll was quick to put her straight.

That the line had been part of a wager was already known but the forfeit was not. It resulted in an extremely ‘smooth’ D’Arcy.

"Unfortunately not, I just wanted to see Gordon D’Arcy getting a ‘back, crack and sack’ wax."

The retired O'Driscoll also revealed on the show revealed that he snapped at the chance to take on Austin Healey, a current work colleague on BT Sport, in a fight after he had poked fun at Ronan O'Gara after he was viciously attacked the Lions' game with the New South Wales Waratahs on the 2001 Australian tour.

"We were in a team room and it was a couple of weeks after Ronan O'Gara had the head punched off him in a game and Austin put the gloves on that were used for training and went over to ROG and kept digging him and going, 'is it too soon? is it too soon?," BOD said.

"Stupidly I said, 'I'll have a go at you'...I never really boxed before but I put the gloves on and it was Austin, the opportunity of giving Austin a hiding.... it's an easy sell.

"I don't know what happened but I threw about five or six combinations and landed them all and Austin never landed a punch and all the rest of the squad realised that Austin was going to get a hiding, and particularly the English guys got excited about this and formed a ring around us.

"I realised my luck  was about to run out so I told Austin, 'Listen, you have a game at he weekend and I can't have you going out there with a split eye because I've thumped the head of ya so I'm going to have to leave it at that."

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