Ireland v Australia Touchlines
O'Driscoll ready for final chance to get one over on the gold jersey
WHEN Israel Folau met the media this week, he followed a tradition of Australian players who name-dropped Brian O'Driscoll when asked about Ireland.
The touring Wallabies rarely go beyond the legendary centre, who was yesterday conferred with an honorary degree by DCU, when they are asked about the threats posed by Ireland's players ahead of their meetings.
Saturday's opponents have played a huge role in the 34-year-old's career. He made his international debut against them in 1999 in Brisbane, and his Lions debut in the same city two years later. His late try secured a draw with them in 2009; he was involved in Ireland's historic World Cup win over them in 2011 and, last summer, the low point of his rugby life came when he was dropped for the third Lions Test.
This weekend is his final chance to get one over the gold jersey and he'll be hoping to finish on a high.
Brian O'Driscoll v Australia 1999-2013
Ireland: Played 11, Won 3, Drew 1, Lost 7; 3 tries, 1 dg
Lions: Played 5, Won 2, Lost 3; 1 try
TOTAL: Played 16, Won 5, Drew 1, Lost 10, 4 tries, 1 dg
NUMBER OF THE DAY
1 Lansdowne Road holds fond memories for Australia coach Ewen McKenzie, who was involved in the famous 1991 World Cup quarter and semi-final wins at the venue, and also scored one of his two international tries in Dublin 4.
O'CONNELL OPTS FOR READING OVER REVELRY
Paul O'Connell will lead Ireland out at as captain at Lansdowne Road on Saturday on the occasion of his 87th Ireland cap.
One hopes his pre-game preparations are more peaceful this week than they were on his first, when he was slated to room with his Young Munster clubmate Peter Clohessy.
As Ireland bagman Patrick 'Rala' O'Reilly recalls in his newly published book 'Rala, a Life in Rugby,' ghosted by John O'Sullivan, "I can still see Paulie sitting on the edge of the bed, reading a book, whilst the room around him resembled the last days of Rome.
"The fug of smoke enshrouded the card players, their discarded sandwich trays, mineral bottles, tea, coffee, cups, saucers and cakes littering the desk and floor. It was like Sodom and Gomorrah, minus the women."
TWEET OF THE DAY
Quade Cooper @QuadeCooper
"u never truly appreciate how nice it is to be able to breathe through your nose until you are sitting in your hotel room with a blocked nose"
The northern hemisphere weather is taking its toll on Australia's enigmatic fly-half.
ALL BLACK AND BLUE IN CLONSILLA 'KICKABOUT'
The best Gaelic football team in Ireland will get to come face to face with rugby's elite next Wednesday as the Dublin team get the chance to train with the All Blacks.
Their mutual sponsor AIG have arranged for a meeting of minds or a 'kickabout' that will see a number of the Dublin footballers and hurlers meet the world champions for a training session at Westmanstown Sports and Conference centre in Clonsilla on Wednesday.
So, we could get to see how Dan Carter gets on trying to kick points with the round ball and whether Richie McCaw takes to hurling like a natural, while Bernard Brogan's spin pass will be put to the test.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I like playing Australia. I've had some good run-outs against them, my first cap was against them and hopefully we can get one over on them."
It's no wonder Cian Healy relishes playing the Wallabies. Some of the high points of his career have come against the gold jersey, with the 2011 World Cup win the highlight.