Tuesday 23 January 2018

Brian O'Driscoll: I just want to go out on a high

Ruaidhri O’Connor

BRIAN O’DRISCOLL is blocking out the emotion of his final Ireland game in Dublin this weekend as he looks to finish his international career on a winning note.

The experienced centre has two games left before stepping away from a glittering career in green and Saturday’s meeting with Italy will see him say goodbye to Lansdowne Road as an Ireland player.

Much will be written and said over the coming days about the 35-year-old’s legacy and signing off with a performance, but the former captain got his media duties done early at Carton House today ahead of the penultimate Six Nations clash of the season.

Top of the table with two games to go and with a significant points advantage, there is a real opportunity for O’Driscoll to sign off with a Championship win and that is the centre’s total focus.

“I’m not really that emotional, I won’t allow the build-up to affect me. I’m sure aspects will be difficult, I’ll be sad but I’ll wait until Saturday afternoon,” he said.

“People are probably sick and tired of reading stuff, I have seen articles and a few nice things and a nice tweet from George Gregan congratulating me for matching his record.

“I just want to go out on a high, that’s the focus.”

The IRFU are awaiting the latest medical results on Jonathan Sexton’s thumb but remain hopeful he can train tomorrow (Tuesday). Peter O’Mahony is hoping to shake off his hamstring injury as he returns to the pitch today for running, while O’Driscoll and Andrew Trimble will train fully this week.

O’Driscoll admitted that he had struggled with his calf before the England game, but is now fully focused on contributing to the team in his final two games.

“There is no individual feeling, there really isn’t. I’ve never been one for great sentiment, the team has absolute priority and always have done. There will be no extra emphasis other than to get a final showdown against France,” he said.

“I’d enjoy it a lot more if we were walking around the Stade de France with a trophy. I enjoy being in camp, learning new plays and trying new things. We’re in an environment where we are pushing each other for places, Darren (Cave) and Robbie (Henshaw) are pushing me hard.

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