January 26, 2011 | In: Articles
O’Driscoll – Buzz still there
Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll insists the prospect of his 12th straight RBS Six Nations campaign is as exciting as ever.
The 32-year-old will lead Ireland in their opener against Italy in Rome on February 5 and is still expecting the adrenaline to be flowing even after all these years.
“The Six Nations has definitely got harder over the years. The game has become harder, more physical, more demanding,” he said.
“If you asked 100 players in the Six Nations how many of them were 100% fit, 99 would say they had some niggle and the other person would be a liar.
“It’s impossible to go out 100% fit these days because of the physicality, both at provincial and international level.
“But adrenaline is brilliant at getting you through those small ailments that you have.
“The feeling you get in a winning dressing room makes you forget the sore muscles and bones for a couple of hours. It’s definitely a feeling I enjoy.”
O’Driscoll certainly has no thoughts of retirement as he enters the twilight of his international career.
“I’ve stopped putting time constraints on myself as to when I have to give up,” he said ahead of winning his 108th cap in Rome.
“As long as the body is still feeling good and the mind is backing that up, I don’t see any reason to give up.
“I’m really looking forward to the Six Nations because I love this competition.
“My interest hasn’t waned in any way shape of form over the last decade or so.
“If anything I probably have more of a hunger for it now in the knowledge that I don’t know how many more years I will have left.
“You treat each Six Nations like it could be your last. In doing so you thoroughly enjoy each moment, whether it be playing or on the bus journey to and from games.
“The small things give me as much of a buzz now as they did 10 years ago.”
And O’Driscoll admits trips to the Italian capital are welcomed by his team-mates. “More often than not we’ve been fortunate to have good conditions in Italy,” he said.
“The players thrive on the sun shining and there’s usually a freshness to playing in February or March. Players do enjoy it there – it’s a good atmosphere in the stadium.
“But if you slip behind like we did two years ago it can be a difficult place to fight your way back. There are worse places to play rugby internationals than Rome.”