Saturday 26 May 2018

'Unless we give up gaelic football, we'll never be like the All Blacks' - Brian O'Driscoll Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll admitted to being angry over the criticism of Joe Schmidt's side in the week heading into the superb victory over England at the Aviva.

Detractors hit out at Ireland's often one-dimensional tactics in attack and our failure to be clinical in the opposition 22 but some of the flak annoyed Ireland's record tryscorer.

"Some lady came up to me on a plane and said to me, 'Can you get those guys lads to do a bit of hard work this week?' and there was steam coming out of my ears," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

Rugby falls behind hurling, gaelic football and soccer in terms of participation numbers but the exploits of Schmidt's side are continuously scrutinised heavily.

"We are a nation for 5-6 million and it's our fourth-choice sport and yet, we're fourth in the world. God knows what the playing numbers are in England, in New Zealand, Australia I think, they're still the fourth-choice sport themselves," he added.

"For us to be a top seed in a pool for the world cup is absolutely monumental.

"It's an inadvertent compliment, the stick, and you've got to look at it that way but it's hard to. It absolutely is.

"Now, no form of mediocre performance is acceptable."

O'Driscoll claimed Ireland would never be able to reach the level of consistent brilliance illustrated by the All Blacks because we just don't have the depth of talent they have, and we're never likely to possess it.

"Are we ever going to be the consistent level of New Zealand? No, we're not.

"I just don't think we are because I don't think we have the ground work done in our players and I don't thin k we have the depth of players or the player numbers to be able to facilitate that level of competition, to drive the standards that high.

"Unless we decide to give up other sports, particularly gaelic football, and pool all those resources into rugby, I don't think we can get to that point.

"We love it but we're not obsessed by rugby."

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