Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

We should be grateful BOD will still be leading charge of old guard

Brian O'Driscoll

It was the week of retirements. Well almost. Beckham, Carragher and Scholes went out in differing levels of glory and media attention, while Ronan O'Gara announced the end of his playing career with Munster.

The first three are 35, 38 and 38 respectively and have undoubtedly been fortunate with injury and looked after themselves throughout their careers.

Consider ROG, who at 36 years of age has been dodging bullets in a red shirt for 16 years. At not much more than 13st (and he's bulked up over the years) he has been a target for every backrower he has ever played against whether for Munster or Ireland.

How remarkably durable and while many observers have critiqued his rugby pedigree few have given him the credit he deserves for his courage and guts in the line of fire of top class European and international rugby teams.

While another of the 'golden generation' calls it a d

ay Brian O'Driscoll, at 34, is still just a pup by comparison, so maybe it is not too much of a surprise that he has signed up with Leinster and Ireland for another season. While I worry about the long term consequences for BOD's body, the utterly selfish part of me craves to see this warrior continue to turn out in big games.

With Geordan Murphy retiring at the end of the season, there aren't too many of the old guard left. Gordon D'Arcy, whose injury worries are beginning to pile up, cannot have much top class rugby left in him, while Paul O'Connell's extended break through injury will buy him at least another year.

Meanwhile, Peter Stringer continues to ply his trade and add value to teams through his experience and competitive instinct.

What a group of players.

When you consider that injuries are shortening the average rugby career and putting players out of the game earlier, we and they must be extraordinarily grateful that their bodies have allowed them to compete for such an extended period of time.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre