Sunday 18 August 2019

'The scoreline at the end flatters England' - Brian O'Driscoll hails Grand Slam heroes

Ireland celebrate winning the Grand Slam
Ireland celebrate winning the Grand Slam
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Brian O'Driscoll hailed Ireland's Grand Slam heroes as they secured a famous win against England to wrap up a clean sweep of victories in this year's Six Nations championship.

A dominant first half performance from Ireland laid the foundations for victory, with the 24-15 win sparking scenes of celebrations at a Twickenham stadium that was overflowing with jubilant Ireland fans.

O'Driscoll took centre stage as Ireland were crowned as Grand Slam champions for only the second time in our history nine years ago and he was delighted to welcome a new batch of Irish 'Invincibles' to a small club as he offered his views to ITV Sport.

"These players undoubtedly deserve a Grand Slam," declared O'Driscoll. "They have gone and done it the hard way. They always knew this was going to be the most difficult game and they saved their best performance to last. The scoreline at the end flatters England ever so slightly as Ireland were so efficient throughout the tournament and the cleverness of the tries means they are worthy winners.

"Huge disappointment at the World Cup a couple of years ago and they used that to galvanise themselves and improve. Having won Six Nations championships a few years ago and we will enjoy this now. We only have three of these, don't forget that. We won't move on from this too quickly, especially the weekend that's it's happened on as well. We will enjoy this tonight, tomorrow and probably on Monday as well. They will all be wrecked by the end! 

"It is great seeing these celebrations. It means so much. It is so, so difficult to win a Grand Slam. So hard to win five top quality games in a row and to come to Twickenham and do it is an amazing achievement. These are the moments you live for. These players should be very proud of themselves.

"We are getting into the realms of where Irish rugby have never been before. The confidence they will get from this will be amazing. They have just beaten an English team that have gone on a long amazing run.

O'Driscoll paid a special tribute to Ireland captain Rory Best, as he suggested one of the 2009 Grand Slam heroes has now completed the ultimate journey as Ireland's leader.

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"He was involved in 2009 with us and he has had quite a remarkable experience since taking over as Ireland captain from Paul O'Connell in 2015," he added. "He has ticked so many boxes, beating all the great teams and now he has won a Grand Slam with Ireland.

"You look for wise words, but you look more for actions. A calm head, following what your leader does, how they go about their business."

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