Friday 20 April 2018

O'Driscoll eyes Wales revenge mission

Wales are not intimidated after their last visit to Croke Park, Brian O'Driscoll wants to change this Photo: Getty Images
Wales are not intimidated after their last visit to Croke Park, Brian O'Driscoll wants to change this Photo: Getty Images

Brian O'Driscoll today urged Ireland to silence Welsh claims that they visit Croke Park without fear.

The Irish, still chasing the RBS 6 Nations title, play their penultimate match at the cathedral of Gaelic sport tomorrow before relocating to a revamped Lansdowne Road in the autumn.

Wales' last visit to Dublin was a 16-12 victory in 2008, prompting flanker Jonathan Thomas to state he found Croke Park far from hostile and less intimidating than Ireland's permanent home.

O'Driscoll, who will be winning his 100th cap tomorrow, insisted it is time to prove the visitors' confidence is misplaced.

"We've been reasonably proud of our record at Croke Park but Wales two years ago was one of our less memorable days," he said.

"We want to finish our last couple of games there on a high.

"There is an element of motivation in that they've said they don't find it a difficult place to come and play.

"The one time they've come here they've won. We need to turn that around."

Thomas alluded to the intense rivalry between the Celtic nations when he declared: "We play each other in the Magners League and that rivalry intensifies when we play at international level.

"It does seem to bring out in both sides a very competitive edge."

Head coach Warren Gatland stoked up the fires before their showdown in Cardiff last year by revealing the Welsh players disliked their Irish counterparts the most, while in 2008 he insisted O'Driscoll had lost a yard of pace.

Lions captain Paul O'Connell rounded on Gatland after Ireland had completed the Grand Slam at the Millennium Stadium, ordering him to keep his ego in check.

The Kiwi this week attempted to prevent any further flashpoints by being complimentary about the champions and O'Driscoll agreed that any animosity between the sides has vanished.

"We got on fine (with the Welsh players) on the Lions tour. I always got on well with Warren when he was coaching Ireland," he said.

"There were certainly no issues when we've been on Lions tours. Warren's a very different coach from 10 years ago, as I am as a player.

"We all move on and Warren's already alluded to that in the papers this week.

"He apologised for any upset that he may caused so it's water the bridge."

Press Association

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