IRISH captain targets swansong on 2013 Lions tour to Australia.
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL wants to bow out at the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia – but he must remain injury free and retain his form.
If he achieves his goal of wearing the red of the British and Irish Lions, O'Driscoll will have another 18 months of action before calling time on his illustrious career.
The 32-year-old admits that he is dreading the thought of leaving the dressing room as a player for the
last time, having fallen short of World Cup glory despite beating a SANZAR team – Australia – in the southern hemisphere along the way.
“Throughout the years, I heard lads talking about the end of their careers and how much they were missing the camaraderie and the craic, and I was thinking they were exaggerating,” he said.
“I was saying, ‘That's a bit too much man love', but I can see it now. I can see what they were talking about.
“I've spent over a third of my life playing professional rugby, so it's going to have a huge impact when the day comes that I'm not doing it anymore – and I'm dreading it. I see guys who were hugely popular with Leinster over the years, John Fogarty, Malcolm O'Kelly and others, and because they're not part of everyday training they just can't have that connection.
“They're still tied to certain people, but not the team as a whole. That's all gone.”
O'Driscoll has inspired Ireland to Six Nations, Grand Slam and Triple Crown success, while he has also led Leinster to two Heineken Cup titles, but he still feels he can achieve even more.
“For me, the inspiration is about trying to be the best that you can be, trying to show those who doubt me, the people who think I'm over the hill, that I still have it,” he said.
“I don't want to be someone who just petered off towards the end of his career, I want to go out on a high.”