Thursday, October 15, 2015

O’Driscoll: “Schmidt will want O’Connell to remain around Ireland squad”

Legendary centre was speaking at the Newstalk and Heineken Off The Ball Roadshow at 3Arena last night

General Stage

Irish rugby legend, Brian O’Driscoll, believes current coach Joe Schmidt will want 108-cap Paul O’Connell around the squad in some capacity during the remainder of Rugby World Cup 2015, despite the injury that has ruled the talismanic leader out of the tournament. Speaking at Newstalk’s Off The Ball Roadshow, in association with Heineken®, live from Dublin’s 3Arena tonight, O’Driscoll remarked; “I know Joe (Schmidt) will want him (O’Connell) there. His presence - with or without saying anything - will inspire the players, so please God he'll be able to get back for some inspirational words.”

Felipe Contepomi & Brian O'DriscollO’Driscoll also heaped praise on O’Connell, who was stretchered off the Millennium Stadium pitch last Sunday, ending his international career. Reflecting on the Munster man’s Ireland career, O’Driscoll stated: “He grew as a player and leader so quickly. He was absolutely vital to Ireland's cause. Through all our success, from the early Triple Crowns to the later Grand Slam and RBS Six Nations titles, he had a pivotal role as a player, but even more so as a pack leader and getting them (the pack) to play better than their ability belied.

Former Ireland and Ulster back-row, Stephen Ferris, described O’Connell as the best he’d ever faced: “I loved playing against him (for Ulster against Munster) because he was the best, and you love playing against the best. He brought a physicality; he was a beast to play against. The players have learnt from the master; there's no better man than Devin Toner to call the lineouts going forward.”

Felipe ContepomiAhead of the huge Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final this Sunday at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Leinster hero and Argentina stalwart, Felipe Contepomi, admitted; “I don't know if Argentina will beat Ireland. It will be a very even game and whoever is best on the day will win. They are two teams who play an exciting game, Argentina will make Ireland play a very good game if they are to beat them.”

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign was top of the agenda as Heineken® and Newstalk came together to bring the ‘Off The Ball Roadshow’ live to the 3Arena tonight. The Off The Ball team, including Brian O’Driscoll, was joined by Keith Wood, Felipe Contepomi, Eddie O’Sullivan, Stephen Ferris and Tim Horan as they discussed all things Rugby World Cup 2015, including Ireland’s eagerly-anticipated clash with Argentina this Sunday.

Brian O'Driscoll


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019