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Monday 11 December 2017

World Cup on BOD’s horizon

Ireland captain hasn’t ruled out 2015 yet and insists Six Nations is still winnable without him

IRELAND captain Brian O’Driscoll has stopped just short of saying he would like to play on to the 2015 World Cup in England.

“You know what, I’m not putting a final date on finishing because the body will give up before the mind will,” he told Newstalk’s Matt Copper last night.

“I wouldn’t put any limitations on where I want to go or what I want to achieve. I have my own personal goals season-on-season.

“I definitely see myself playing, hopefully, at some stage this year, definitely next year and you just have to listen to how you are feeling both from a body and mind point of view.

Decline

“When you see friends and colleagues you’ve played with for a lot of years moving on, you have to evaluate if you are in decline. I would like to go out on a high. I certainly feel I will be around for a little time yet.”

Is he sure he will be able to pull on the Leinster and Ireland jerseys again? “I’m pretty confident. I feel good. I feel very motivated at the moment. I feel very rested as well,” the 33-year-old said. “I definitely needed a period of time off after the World Cup, irrespective of whether I needed an operation or not. I played a lot of consecutive Test matches.

“In fact, I looked back. The last Test match I missed prior to one of the World Cup warm-ups against England was Eddie O’Sullivan’s last game. I played 28 consecutive Tests or something. You can’t keep going| that way and playing a lot of big European games. The body was just very tired.”

O’Driscoll has been meticulous about his rehabilitation from a neck/shoulder injury that curtailed him during the World Cup in New Zealand. He has been restricted to gym work and non-contact activities.

“I don’t necessarily love going into the weights room,” he said, “but, I love the feeling that I get walking out of it. I still love going out onto the pitch and training with a ball because we’re rugby players. We’re not athletes.

“The process of everything you |do during the week is to achieve the ultimate goal at the weekend. There are aspects that I love. There are other parts that are a job.

“On the whole, I still absolutely love doing it. I love getting up in the morning and looking forward to going in, albeit, like everyone else, I have bad Mondays.”

Momentum

Ireland’s record cap holder and try scorer does not believe his absence will ruin the ambitions of those who will look to win a second Grand Slam in four seasons.

“Why not? We’ve done it before,” he said. “Three seasons ago, we managed a Grand Slam. Why do we have to wait another 61 years? I assure you none of the players are thinking Grand Slam right now.

“But, they’re thinking they can certainly win the championship. |To do that, you have to build momentum. That starts by beating the first team. You have to win |your home games. Wales on Sunday is a must win.

“We actually don’t do middle ground. We’re either rock bottom |or world beaters. Things have gone well from a provincial point of view in the Heineken Cup. Two of the provinces are riding high in the Rabodirect PRO12.

“When you look at that, it immediately builds expectations.”

The sort of expectations that were not there before O’Driscoll happened to Leinster and Ireland.

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