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Irish rugby player brian o'driscoll best in world
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Irish rugby player brian o'driscoll has been voted best in world for the past decade.
what a player
O'Driscoll named World Player of the Decade
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has been voted as Rugby World magazine's player of the decade.
The Leinster centre announced his arrival on the world stage in 2000 with a stunning hat-trick in Ireland's Six Nations victory over France in Paris.
O'Driscoll finished the decade captaining Ireland to their first Grand Slam in 61 years and playing an instrumental role in Leinster's long-awaited Heineken Cup triumph.
A three-time nominee for the International Rugby Board's world player of the year, O'Driscoll played on three Lions tours, including one as captain.
Rugby World team of the decade:
M Muliana (New Zealand); J Robinson (England), B O'Driscoll (Ireland), M Giteau (Australia), S Williams (Wales); D Carter (New Zealand), A Pichot (Argentina); G Jenkins (Wales), J Smit (South Africa), C Hayman (New Zealand), M Johnson (England, capt), V Matfield (South Africa), R Hill (England), R McCaw (New Zealand), S Parisse (Italy).
Replacements: R Roncero (Argentina), M Ledesma (Argentina), S Marconnet (France), JM Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina), F Du Preez (South Africa), J Wilkinson (England), Y Jauzion (France), JM Hernandez (Argentina).
RWC 2011 Interview: Brian O'Driscoll
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:12
by Brendan Cole
"You change direction and in a split instant you are able to take off and leave them behind."
Adaptability. Intensity. Genius. Things that define Brian O'Driscoll.
The first thing people noticed was his sublime talent for evasion. Running around people is something Brian O'Driscoll could do back then and can still do now. 5'10, broad-shouldered and blessed with powerful legs, he is built to slash through the smallest gaps.
Evasion delivered the insouciant hat-trick against France that inserted him into the national consciousness in 2000. A slip through one tackle and a jink past the next allowed him to score one of the tries of the decade in Brisbane less than a year later.
It looked simple but nobody else could do it the way he did it. Part of the key is his ability to run just as fast round a bend as he does in a straight line. He worked on it earlier in the day and describes it now, tracing imaginary running lines with his hands, snapping his fingers to signify the moment the deception is completed.
"Someone thinks they have you but when you are running an arc you don't lose any speed and they have to slow down. You change direction and in a split instant you are able to take off and leave them behind. It is nice to remind yourself that you are still capable of doing that."
Is he as quick in a straight line as he used to be? He smiles. He knows it doesn't matter and he knows he is plenty fast where it counts. It is not something he stresses about. "I would say I am.90% as fast as I used to be."
Attacking came naturally and in the beginning attacking defined him. But it turned out not to be enough to deliver tournament wins. O'Driscoll kept working, kept improving and used the training pitch to become one of the world's best defensive players.
"It is a part of my game that I have worked hard on"
Brian O'Driscoll v Scotland 2009
"I would always treat my attacking game as the more natural part. With defence, you have to get yourself in positions to understand the game and understand situations and that might not be as natural a thing.
"It is a part of my game that I have worked hard on. You never sit on your laurels. It is always a case of trying to work on your deficiencies as much as working on your strengths."
He became the complete player, so much so that people began to say defence was his strongest asset.
But medals continued to prove elusive and a disastrous Rugby World Cup in 2007 suggested that while O'Driscoll and the rest of the 'golden generation' were a talented bunch, they would never be real winners.
But that changed. The stars aligned in 2009. Michael Cheika had arrived at Leinster and a bit of his attitude rubbed off. They learned that refusing to accept defeat is the starting point for winning.
A bad season turned good instead of the other way round and Leinster dug out a Heineken Cup victory. Around the same time, Ireland ditched some baggage and, lightly but surely steered by Declan Kidney, caught a piece of the same wave and rode it to Grand Slam victory. A second European Cup playing scintillating rugby under Joe Schmidt has been added since.
"We had the finesse side of things and we had the skill level. We probably just needed that little bit of dog that had been lacking and that you need to get over the finishing line. He [Cheika] brought a desire and a work ethic and it has gone on to another level from then too."
Many players talk about doing what it takes to win. In that tournament, O'Driscoll lived it. It started with a slashing outside break against France: running an arc before leaving them behind. Snap.
Brian O'Driscoll beats Lionel Beauxis - Six Nations 2009
O'Driscoll beats Beauxis
But it would take more than that and he found a way to give it, taking responsibility for getting the ball over from a yard not once but twice for crucial tries against England and Wales.
The video shows his face contorted by desperation and that sheer intensity he brings to the game is another defining characteristic; one that was not obvious as he trotted over, insouciant and oblivious, for those iconoclastic tries against the French almost 10 years prior.
"Sometimes, you probably become a little bit of a different person on the pitch. People have said in the past about not having respect for your body. I'm not necessarily saying that. But do whatever it takes for the cause to win."
Doing whatever it takes.
Playing for the Lions in South Africa, O'Driscoll's involvement was ended by his own rocket-powered tackle on the massive Springbok forward Danie Roussouw. Both men left the field knocked half unconscious.
What is going through his head as he charges at those moments?
"Games bring another level out in you. There is no way you can train to the same intensity when you are playing a game. It is just impossible. Your head won't allow you to do it. Because the adrenalin of a game and the importance of it steps it up to another level."
He remembers the hit.
"Big matches like that where it is really going to take everything to win the game...I saw a mile away that Danie Roussouw was going to get that ball around the corner and whether he got it or not he was going to get hit."
Learning to win was also about learning that the team takes precedence.
"Sometimes you have to put friendships aside. I wouldn't have an issue with a friend of mine having a go at me if he felt it was necessary. I'm gladly able to leave that on the training pitch and I think you have to learn to be able to do that. Not bring work home."
It's not the same thing, but four years ago, playing against Namibia, O'Driscoll lost the head at a team-mate. An intercept was thrown and Peter Stringer was on the receiving end of a tirade from the captain.
Does he remember?
"I do remember. I remember the frustration. We had done a bit of research on them. We had talked about not throwing long second passes. Anyone can throw an intercept. We did something that we had scouted that we shouldn't do. Certainly from a captain that is an unacceptable reaction. Maybe the bit of pressure brought that out."
No pressure - "Let's go with the natural thing"
Pressure. Before the World Cup in 2007, Ireland knew they were good - very good. They told people, put pressure on themselves, believed that by talking like winners they could become winners.
"A mistake", O'Driscoll admits. This time it's different. To a man, Irish players are talking about getting out of the group and looking no further and he sticks to the same theme.
"We don't have to put the pressure on ourselves. We are a small country that probably bats well above its average and to play the underdog card is probably what is most natural to us. So let's go with the natural thing."
There was also an overemphasis on athleticism and not enough time spent on rugby. A belief that other teams were physically much bigger contributed to Ireland's gym-centric approach. This time, Ireland will be 'game ready' from the off.
Toes have been stepped on in training, and the entire squad will have plenty of rugby played by the time they face Eddie O'Sullivan's US Eagles on 11 September.
"There has been no shortage of contact stuff."
There is also no sense of a rumbling issue with facilities - something which dogged Ireland from an early stage in the 2007 campaign. The fallout from that continues. Most recently, former strength and conditioning coach Mike McGurn claimed in a magazine that Irish Rugby Football Union penny-pinching had undermined the team's preparations in 2007.
The piece has been discussed with team-mates over breakfast. O'Driscoll acknowledges McGurn's contribution to the Irish cause, but does not accept his version of events.
"As much as I have huge respect for Mike - he did a great job - I wouldn't say that everything he said in his article would absolutely be the truth as far as I saw it."
More important - he is happy that Ireland have been given all the resources they need this time around.
"I think we are definitely being given the opportunity to be in the best possible shape and that is all you can ask for. The Union have pulled out all the stops, getting us Carton House, the pitch is on site, the gym is 100 yards from our team room. Great facilities. Everything that a professional team needs."
Winning the Rugby World Cup would mean beating at least two and possibly three of the SANZAR nations - Australia, South Africa and New Zealand - who have won five of six tournaments held to date.
On Jonathan Kaplan - 'He owes us one!'
Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Kaplan after Wales' try in the 2011 Six Nations
Is O'Driscoll concerned that they seem to be able to set the agenda when it comes to rules and tactics? Yes and no.
"It appears to be the case [that they set the agenda]. We are fortunate ourselves in that we have a couple of heavy hitters within the IRB who are not willing to have us trod upon. But at the same time, they appear to be the trendsetters for want of another expression.
"Is it a concern? They are obviously trying to move things in the directions that suit them most. But as a player that is outside my remit. I need to worry about the things that I am in control of."
The referees for Ireland's two main Pool games are Bryce Lawrence (v Australia) and Jonathan Kaplan (v Italy). O'Driscoll - taking a stress-free approach - has not looked that far ahead yet.
Lawrence had a controversial impact on the Lions tour two years ago and was criticised for his handling of the scrum, and for recommending Schalk Burger receive only a yellow card for gouging inside the first minute of the second Test.
The captain is diplomatic.
"He is a referee that commands respect. The Lions seems like a long time ago. I'm sure if he had a chance to look back on it, he might have made one or two other decisions but maybe not."
Kaplan will handle the Italy game. The South African's most recent involvement with Ireland saw him get things completely wrong by allowing Mike Phillips to score a try despite an illegally taken quick lineout immediately beforehand.
O'Driscoll's reaction to the appointment? A smile. "He owes us one!"
Winning collision areas - the key to beating Australia
The key Pool clash is against an Australian team built around the vision and playmaking of half-back pair Will Genia and Quade Cooper. The plan is simple.
"They are an intelligent football team, but that only gets you so far. The game is about being physical and winning collision areas irrespective of what game plans are and how well people see things.
"It is difficult to run a backline when you are on the back foot irrespective of who you are. The simple things in the game are what make the difference."
Does O'Driscoll believe Ireland are capable of winning the tournament?
"We need a hell of a lot of things to go right for us but I don't think it is impossible."
An arced run. A crashing tackle. A desperate dive over from a yard. Genius. Intensity. Adaptability.
Whatever it takes.
Gillette Ambassador Brian O'Driscoll was speaking shortly after the launch of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, Gillette's newest razor. For more see gillette.com or facebook.com/gilletteUK.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Full name Brian O'Driscoll
Date of birth 21 January 1979 (1979-01-21) (age 30)
Place of birth Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 93 kilograms (210 lb)
Nickname BOD, GOD, Drico
School Blackrock College
University University College Dublin
Rugby union career
Position(s) Outside Centre
current team University College Dublin
Position Outside Centre
Clubs Caps (points)
correct as of 2007-09-15.
Provincial/State sides Caps (points)
1999-present Leinster 122+4 0(251, 49tr)
correct as of 2009-05-04.
correct as of 2009-12-20.
Brian Gerald O'Driscoll (Irish name: Brian Gearóid Ó hEidirsceoil ; born 21 January 1979) is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Irish national team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Registered at University College Dublin RFC, he plays at outside centre for the Irish provincial team Leinster. O'Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.
O'Driscoll has 101 test caps, 95 for Ireland (55 as captain), and six for the British and Irish Lions. During this time he has scored 38 tries for Ireland and 1 try for the Lions in 2001, making him the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby. He is joint 11th-highest try scorer in Rugby Union history, and the highest scoring centre of all time. He holds the Irish Six Nations record for most tries scored with 21. He has scored the most Heineken Cup tries (27) for an Irishman.
O'Driscoll was born in Clontarf on Dublin's Northside, and was educated at Blackrock College where he played in the Senior Cup team. He was capped three times for Ireland Schools in 1996. In 1998, O'Driscoll played for the Ireland U-19 side, which also included his senior teammates Donncha O'Callaghan and Paddy Wallace, which won the Under 19 Rugby World Championship. After leaving school, he attended UCD on a scholarship. At UCD, under the respected director of John McClean, he first made the under-20 side, before being promoted to the top team near the end of his first year. After two years, O'Driscoll graduated from UCD with a diploma in sports management. He made his under-21 debut in February 1999, and eventually gained four caps.
O'Driscoll made his debut for Leinster in 1999. Under head coach Matt Williams and backs coach Alan Gaffney he became an explosive force in the Leinster backline. In 2001, Leinster won the inaugural Celtic League beating Munster in Lansdowne Road. In 2003 Leinster were heavy favourites for that years Heineken Cup after coming through their group unbeaten and with the final being in Dublin. Ultimately, however, Leinster would fall short. After defeating Biarritz in Dublin, Leinster would crash out to Perpignan in the semi finals.
Following the semi final defeat, Leinster underwent instability in the coaching set up. Gaffney left for the head coaching job in Munster whilst Williams became the Scottish national coach. In 2004, Leinster failed to make the knock out stages of the competition with new head coach Gary Ella and following the season Ella would leave the post. Declan Kidney, former Munster coach came into the job in 2005 which once again prove to be demorialising for Leinster. A heavy home quarter final defeat to Leicester Tigers was followed by the departure of Kidney back to Munster.
Leinster appointed Michael Cheika in the summer of 2006 and despite rumours of O'Driscoll moving to France he agreed to another year in Ireland. That year, O'Driscoll returning from a horrific shoulder injury suffered on the Lions, would assume the captaincy for the season. Under backs coach David Knox and the movement of Argentine international Felipe Contepomi to fly half, the Leinster back line would be one of the most potent in Europe, complete with many notable international players. With centre partner Gordon D'Arcy, wings Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan along with full back Girvan Dempsey the backline would put in stunning performances in the Magners League and in Europe. Notable wins which O'Driscoll excelled in over Bath Rugby and Toulouse away from home would set up an All Ireland semi final in Lansdowne Road against Munster. Defeat against the eventual champions Munster, however, would once again deny O'Driscoll and his team a final berth. Leinster would also be denied a Magners League title on the final day with David Humphreys of Ulster slotting an injury time drop goal in Ulster's final game of the season, denying Leinster a second title.
2007 and 2008 would once again prove difficult in Europe, once again defeat to the eventual champions in 2007, this time to Wasps in the quarter finals. In 2008, Leinster would be dumped out in the group stages. Indifferent Heineken Cup form, however, was not replicated in the league. In 2007, Leinster would once again come to the final hurdle of the league only to be denied by the Ospreys and Cardiff. In 2008 though Leinster would cruise to the title ahead of Munster, marking O'Driscoll's second honour with the province, his first and only as captain.
The 2008-2009 would mark a shift in focus for O'Driscoll. Despite retaining the Irish captaincy under new coach Declan Kidney, he would hand the honour of Leinster captain to Leo Cullen. Leinster began with inconsistent league form and in Europe. A sublime home demolishing of English champions London Wasps in which O'Driscoll scored two tries was followed by away defeats to both London Wasps and Castres. Leinster would advance to the quarter finals despite this to face Harlequins in the Twickenham Stoop. Before this though, Leinster would relinquish their Magners League crown to Munster which was effectively lost in April 2009 at Thomond Park when he was absent through injury. Against Harlequins, Leinster would muscle their way to a 6-5 victory. The victory was notable in that Leinster's other notable European wins relied on backline flair whilst in this game the defence was key. O'Driscoll (who the previous summer shed one stone of weight) was to the fore in defence, which had always been a strong area of his game, but reached new heights in 2009.
The semi final would be a "re-match" against rivals Munster in Croke Park, a 82,206 sell out, a world record club attendance. On the day Leinster almost completely reversed the scoreline in 2006 of 30-6, defeating them 25-6. O'Driscoll was awarded the man of the match award (which he later dedicated to the entire team) after an intercept try completed a convincing win for Leinster and sending O'Driscoll to his first final. Leinster would capture European glory against a team who had previously defeated them in the knockout stages, Leicester Tigers on May 23 2009. The 19-16 Heineken Cup victory included a drop goal from O'Driscoll who was suffering from a shoulder injury. In his post match interview, a delighted O'Driscoll paid tribute to former Leinster team mates who shared his journey, but were not present in the current squad.
In 1999, O'Driscoll was selected for the senior squad and was on the bench for a match against Italy(this was not a Six Nations match as Italy did not enter the competition until the following year), although he did not play. He was selected for the tour of Australia during which he won his first Test cap at age 20 on 12 June 1999 in a 46-10 loss to Australia in Brisbane. Since that day, he has established himself as one of rugby's top outside centres. It is noted that O'Driscoll played for Ireland before he played for the senior Leinster team. Early in his Irish career, in 2000 he memorably scored a Hat-trick of tries in a Six Nations Championship victory against France in Paris — the last time Ireland achieved victory in Paris in 1972, O'Driscoll hadn't even been born.
O'Driscoll became so popular in Ireland that many supporters donned T-shirts bearing the motto "In BOD We Trust" (a play on "In God We Trust", the phrase that appears on all United States currency and coinage). In 2002, O'Driscoll starred in Irelands 18-9 win over Australia, the first Irish victory over the Wallabies since 1979. In 2003, following the international retirement of long-time Ireland captain Keith Wood, he was awarded the captaincy. In that year O'Driscoll led Ireland to second place in the Six Nations Championship. This was followed by Triple Crowns in 2004, 2006 and 2007, with the 2004 success being Ireland's first crown since 1985. In 2004 O'Driscoll notably captained Ireland to a 17-12 victory over South Africa, the first Irish win over the Springboks since 1965.
O'Driscoll has played in the last three World Cups (13 caps). In 2009, O'Driscoll was again selected as captain, leading Ireland to win the Triple Crown, Six Nations Championship and their first Grand Slam in 61 years. He scored a try in every match except one, culminating in a nail-biting final match, a 17-15 victory in Cardiff in which O'Driscoll again scored a try and was the RBS man of the match. On March 27 he was named as player of the 2009 Six Nations Championship. O'Driscoll won a fans' online poll ahead of runner-up, Italy back-row Sergio Parisse, and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell who came third. In May 2009 he was named the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player of the Year for the past season. On 15 November 2009, O'Driscoll scored a last minute try against Australia to help Ireland get a 20-20 draw in Croke Park. The day after he was named as one of the seven nominations for the 2009 International Rugby Board player of the year.
British and Irish Lions
Brian O'Driscoll appeared in all three British and Irish Lions Tests on the team's 2001 tour of Australia where he announced himself as a world star with his now legendary try in the first test. On 11 April 2005, he was named captain of the team for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Prior to that tour he had been named captain of the Northern Hemisphere side for the IRB Rugby Aid Match (a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami fundraiser) held at Twickenham in March 2005, but was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury; however, he did appear at pitchside for the match.
O'Driscoll's playing contribution to the 2005 Lions ended in the opening minutes of the first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch on 25 June 2005, when he was carried off the field on a stretcher with a shoulder injury just after the ball had left a ruck he was defending. Tana Umaga (captain of the All Blacks) and Keven Mealamu had together lifted O'Driscoll at the ruck and he was driven head first toward the ground, a manoeuvre known as a Spear tackle, illegal in all grades of rugby and considered highly dangerous. He extended one arm to protect his head, and his shoulder was dislocated on impact.
The independent citing commissioner found that the New Zealand players had no case to answer. However, following new footage, International Rugby Board's communications manager Greg Thomas stated ...that dangerous tackles like this have no part in the game. The Lions management were heavily criticised by New Zealanders for attempting to divert attention from their terrible performance. Although unable to play, O'Driscoll remained as non-playing captain on a losing tour and only underwent surgery on his return. He then released a DVD entitled Brian O'Driscoll's Lions Diary in which he described his tour experience and his opinion of the events that transpired.
On 21 April 2009, O'Driscoll was selected as part of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa. On the 1st June 2009 he was named as captain of the Lions for the game against the Golden Lions taking place on the 3rd June, in place of the rested Paul O'Connell. This was the first time he has captained the Lions since the spear tackle incident in New Zealand in 2005. He was also named in the outside centre position for the Lions in their first test of the 2009 tour against South Africa, in which he made two assists as the Lions lost 26 - 21. He was forced to withdraw from the tour on 30 June before the third and final test due to a head injury and subsequent concussion he suffered in the second test.
In September 2005, as O'Driscoll was said to be preparing to leave Irish provincial rugby and agree to a contract to play in France, the IRFU quickly announced they would do all they could to keep him in Ireland. O'Driscoll subsequently signed a deal with the IRFU to keep him at Leinster through the 2007 World Cup. O'Driscoll made his playing comeback for Leinster in December 2005. In January 2006, he helped Leinster beat Bath to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2005-6 Heineken Cup. On the 1st of April 2006, O'Driscoll was instrumental in leading Leinster to victory over Toulouse; reaching the Heineken Cup semi-final. As of 20th December 2009, O'Driscoll has played 64 times for Leinster in the Heineken Cup, scoring 120 points, including 27 tries (behind record holder Vincent Clercs 30 tries & 1 ahead of Shane Horgan for lead Irishman). On May 23, 2009, O'Driscoll was on the Leinster team which beat Leicester 19-16 in the Heineken Cup final in Murrayfield to claim the trophy for the first time.
Tributes and awards
In 2001, 2002 and 2009, O'Driscoll was nominated for the IRB World Player of the Year. In 2001, he lost out to his Irish teammate Keith Wood; in 2002, to Fabien Galthié; and, in 2009, critically to Richie McCaw.
O'Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.
In 2007, former England centre and captain Will Carling published his list of the '50 Greatest Rugby players' in The Telegraph, and ranked O'Driscoll the tenth greatest player of all time, stating; "As a balanced centre he has everything - pace, strength, great attacking skill and is as good in defence as attack. On the 2001 Lions tour, he showed his outstanding talent as the stand out back in the series. He has the ability to prise open defences that other players cannot even contemplate. With his poise, his change of speed and his closeness to the ground it is very hard to stop him. Ireland are half the side without him". In summer 2008 O'Driscoll was named Dubliner of The Year by The Dubliner magazine.
“'Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
—O'Driscoll's widely-quoted philosophical musing when asked to give his view on former Lions team mate and current England manager, Martin Johnson, ahead of Ireland's Six Nations Championship clash with England at Croke Park on 28th February 2009.
O'Driscoll is a keen fan of both Manchester United and the Dublin Gaelic football team, attending their matches at Croke Park. O'Driscoll is currently engaged to Amy Huberman, an actress currently starring in the RTÉ production of The Clinic.
He is also the cousin of Arsenal F.C. club doctor Dr. Gary O'Driscoll. He has published one book, "A Year in the Centre" (2005), a memoir of a year as professional rugby player.
A biography of O'Driscoll, called In BOD We Trust, by Marcus Stead was published in March 2008, with a new, paperback version published in May 2009 telling the story of Ireland's Grand Slam victory.
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