Sport Rugby

Monday 18 December 2017

Super switch 'excites' O'Driscoll

AFTER nailing down coach Joe Schmidt for another season, Leinster's next job appears to be securing the future of Brian O'Driscoll, who has opened the door to a reunion with Michael Cheika at the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of this season, writes Ruaidhri O'Connor.

The Ireland captain's contract expires at the end of the current campaign and he has remained coy on his future plans.

In an interview with an Australian newspaper organised through a Lions sponsor, the 33-year-old said he had contemplated switching to the southern hemisphere after last year's World Cup and would be open to discussing a move, even if it appeared unlikely.

"What excites me is the challenge of playing against the calibre of player you are playing week in, week out down there,'' O'Driscoll said. "But whether all the pieces fit, I don't know. At this moment in time, probably not, but Cheiks has my number, so if he wants to give me a call, he knows how to get me.

"Just before the World Cup I thought about the possibility of last year maybe taking a little bit of downtime after the World Cup, and playing a year of Super Rugby.

"The three best (international) teams in the world make up the Super 15, and you look at the individuals and you look at the calibre of sides and the quality of Super Rugby and the intensity of it, obviously it is a hugely high standard.

"I am contracted only to June, so whether I play on for another year after that, the body will be able to tell me later on this year."

In reality, such a move seems highly unlikely. O'Driscoll will be due a lot of money back from the Government's tax incentive scheme but must be based in Ireland at the end of his career to claim it.

He has also recently become a mentor in sports agency IKON, which has begun to sign up high-profile players.

There is a school of thought that the centre would like to retire after what would be his fourth Lions tour in Australia this summer, but if he continues it appears more likely that he will finish his career with Leinster and Ireland.

Irish Independent

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