Belfast Telegraph

Brian O'Driscoll: I’ve no plans to hang up my boots

By Hugh Farrelly

Brian O’Driscoll has rounded on critics calling for his retirement and has set his sights on a first Ireland win over world champions New Zealand next year.

The 117-times capped centre led Ireland to the World Cup quarter-finals last month and says he will play on for as long as he is worth his place in the team.

Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks and the 32-year-old, who admits to being irritated by calls that he should quit, believes next summer's three-Test tour is a chance to achieve something special.

“Just because you get to a certain age it's ‘oh, he should go now’,” said O'Driscoll.

“It is a bit (irritating) but, whatever. I was still worth my place in the World Cup team and I don't have any aspirations to hang up my boots.

“People were trying to retire me when I was 29 but I still enjoy it too much and still feel as though I have something to offer and as long as I have something to offer and coaches want to select me, well that combination is important enough for me to continue to play on.

“Maybe I'm not as quick or as sharp as I used to be in the past but I think I have other attributes that I didn't have back then so it's about trying to maximise what you do have.

“I don't want to look back in three or four years' time and wish that I had played one more year. The other thing is that I don't want to look back and wish that I had one less year.

“It's about trusting your head and your body and I am certainly not ready to go yet.

“The great thing is that there's always a carrot there.

“I know it's a three-Test tour down in New Zealand which is no easy feat but to be able to go down and hopefully do something that an Irish team hasn't done before excites me and it excites other guys.”

O'Driscoll's Leinster take on Munster in tomorrow night's Pro12 clash at Lansdowne Road in a match that is set to reunite the majority of Ireland's World Cup squad.

Once he adjusted to the apocalyptic weather, returning to Leinster lifted his spirits, providing fresh targets and the enthusiasm to chase them.

Ronan O'Gara said that winning Heineken Cups is “limited consolation” after World Cup underachievement.

It's an observation that is colouring the return to domestic duties but O'Driscoll understands where O'Gara was coming from.

“That's a quote from someone who had a focus towards the World Cup,” he added.

“I wouldn't have been able to contemplate Heineken Cup or Six Nations or summer tours or anything else during the World Cup. Quotes change when something is put to bed and I'm sure Ronan would say that too.

“Now that it is finished your focus has to change to the next really exciting thing and that's the Heineken Cup.”

Belfast Telegraph


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