Brian O'Driscoll

  • Irish athlete
  • Born January 21, 1979

Brian Gerard O'Driscoll (born 21 January 1979) is a retired Irish professional rugby union player. He played at outside centre for the Irish provincial team Leinster and for Ireland. He captained Ireland from 2003 until 2012, and captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. He is regarded by critics as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.O'Driscoll is the second most-capped player in rugby union history, having played 141 test matches: 133 for Ireland (83 as captain), and 8 for the British and Irish Lions.

There have been a couple of things I've been involved in launching that have been a bit more public, but I've always had other things tipping away in the background.

The 2001 tour to Australia would have been a great highlight in my career if the Lions had won the series. That might sound strange because it was a great tour in many ways, but, for me, the more time goes by, the less of a career highlight it becomes, and just more of a frustration.

One thing I learnt early on my career is that personal gratification takes second place.

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.

As you get older, the defeats become more painful. They definitely hurt more.

You've to celebrate the good days because there are brutal days that make the good ones sweet.

Team sports are very important for shaping personalities. It's important that kids understand the mentality behind playing team sports and playing for one another and playing with friends.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

If you start thinking about retirement in six months' time, you're already there.

I was a football fan before I became a rugby fan.

In your mid-20s, you think you'll go on for eternity. Then a point comes where you realise that's not going to be the case.

Rugby gave me a confidence. I was quite shy and relatively timid, but it gave me the confidence to be a little bit more out-going and back myself a bit more.

I have interests outside of rugby and have been cultivating them for when I do decide to hang up the boots.

That's what happens in the world. You get offered superior contracts.

I used to love looking at a recipe, getting all the bits and pieces in the shops, getting them ready and prepared... I don't really have the time to do that anymore.

Before there was any chance to go to England, I changed schools, and it was rugby from there on in.

I'm fairly adventurous with my eating. I've tried kangaroo, and Moreton Bay bugs, which are a kind of lobster, are so good.

My nutritional knowledge is good enough to figure out what's good, what's bad, and where my leeway is.

Rugby takes its toll.

It's rare enough as an older generation player that you're 100% fit - there's always something niggling.

People talk about loyalty of players to clubs. But in the everyday world, you don't see people being loyal to their company when they're getting offered considerably better deals elsewhere.

If you stop doing a skill you've done for years for any period of time, there's an adjustment period to get it back. In anything you do. Motor skills won't work as fast, because repetition is everything.

I'm not privy to the English set-up, but at the academies in Ireland, there is a huge focus on the weights room as opposed to whether they can throw a 10-metre pass on the run. They should be rugby players becoming athletes, not athletes becoming rugby players.

If you can be a good role model for people, well, great. You try and live your sporting life and the rest of your life as well as you can, and if it's something that people admire, well, fantastic. I don't sit at home and think about it too much, though - there's plenty of other things in my life going on.

If you stick around long enough and you do enough of the right things, you get seen in a largely positive light.

Everyone has tests in their life. They come in lots of different forms. I had two or three together, which definitely challenged me as a person and as a sportsman. The big thing is how you react to those situations. You want to come out positively at the other end, and that's what I focused on doing.

When you are captain, you are never speaking for yourself.

For me, it took five years to understand what professionalism meant. But I'm more settled now. I'm married, life changes, and I've been lucky in managing my injuries.

You can't rely on your defence to win a World Cup.

I have ambitions to set records which will be hard to chase down, like getting more than 100 caps for Ireland.

I think my form dipped after the Six Nations in 2007, from the World Cup onwards.

Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett have both been decent, but Dan Carter takes it on to a different level, and he kicks his goals better than both of them.

What do you remember about Jason Robinson? His feet. Not how improved he was under a high ball or his kicking skills. Everyone remembers those feet. He could go round you in a phone box.

Being recognised by Guinness World Records in their 60th year is a real honour. It's also a real privilege for me to be positioned beside such sporting greats.

When you've done something for more than a third of your life, your whole adult life, and then all of a sudden you're going to have to switch off and say, 'No more,' you want to grasp as much of it and enjoy the last few years of it as much as you can. Because you can't get those years back.

I was quite small as a kid and maybe a little afraid physically. When I grew into myself, the realisation changed. That when you hurt yourself, it's transient; it doesn't stay forever.