Monday 18 November 2019

O'Driscoll admits Top 14 temptation but vows to end career at Leinster

David Kelly

David Kelly

Brian O'Driscoll has reiterated his desire to stay with Leinster for the rest of his career ahead of contract negotiations with the IRFU which are due to conclude within the next few months.

O'Driscoll, who turns 34 next month, is holding out for one final payday from his employers, who may be reluctant to match the centre's previous earnings, which have soared over €350,000 per year in recent times.

The Ireland captain has talked about a move to Super 15 Rugby but he is conscious that would mean forfeiting a lucrative six-figure payout from the Revenue Commissioners.

In an interview with 'Total Rugby' broadcast on Sky Sports, O'Driscoll admitted "that ship has sailed" in terms of a move to Super 15, but he did reveal that he flirted with a Top 14 switch in 2005 in order to force the IRFU's hand in contract negotiations.

"I did go down to Biarritz to be spotted and encourage the IRFU to come in with a counter-offer," admitted O'Driscoll, who will not feature in this Saturday's Pro12 clash against Connacht at the RDS.

O'Driscoll added: "I had to stop the president putting a Biarritz jersey on me. It was not my finest hour, but thankfully the IRFU came up with an offer.

"(In terms of Super 15) that ship has well and truly passed. It was just said tongue in cheek. Maybe at 33 I should know better than to be throwing those comments out there.

"If I do play for another few years (after) next year, it will definitely be with the one team, my number one team. Leinster."

However, the IRFU are aware that O'Driscoll, who has already indicated that he may not be fit enough in time for Ireland's Six Nations campaign, remains injury prone and that aspect will feature heavily in any contract negotiations.

As a depleted Leinster, minus several Ireland stars who are in a two-day national camp in Carton House later this week, prepare to tackle Connacht, O'Driscoll revealed that he finds it hard to be around the squad when he is unable to play.

"When I am injured I try to stay away from them," said O'Driscoll, who is already contemplating life after rugby. "They don't need anyone interfering, so I just leave them to their own devices.

"There is an element of the unknown," he added about finishing his career. "It is a bit of a daunting prospect, going from something very natural and that you've loved for so long and then trying to find a new challenge to give you a reason to get up in the morning and have the same appetite.

"There are not a lot of jobs where you can run out in front of 80,000 people. You'll never get the same feeling, but you want something that gives you an element of that passion. I don't want to wake up one day wondering what I'm going to do."

Irish Independent

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