O'Driscoll cranks up Croke Park pressure
February 20, 2007
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was passed fit and available for Saturday's historic Six Nations showdown at Croke Park - and insisted: "We just love beating England. At anything."
O'Driscoll missed the 20-17 home defeat by France last time out after injuring a hamstring in the opening win over Wales.
But he's now fit to return for the huge collision with Brian Ashton's visitors, and has been talking up the rivalry between the two sides.
He told the latest issue of Zoo magazine: "There is so much history to this fixture and, of course, Irish people just love beating England. At anything.
"Our new stadium is impressive. We're used to running out to 40,000 fans at Lansdowne Road, but here (Croke Park) weill have 80,000 and that's bound to make a difference."
On Saturday O'Driscoll comes up against former Great Britain Rugby League captain Andy Farrell at centre in what promises to be the clash of the tournament.
Aged 29 with 71 caps now to his name, O'Driscoll is three years younger than Farrell - but the former Wigan Super League star has played just seven games for Saracens and two for England since an injury-plagued switch of codes nearly two years ago.
Farrell is four inches taller than O'Driscoll and nearly two stones heavier.
And Wasps coach Shaun Edwards, Farrell's former Wigan team-mate, says he must make full use of his physical advantages.
He said: "Andy has got to impose himself on the Irish centres.
"He's considerably bigger than Gordon D'Arcy and O'Driscoll, and he's got to assert that physicality.
"He's got to bash them up a bit because they'll be looking to test him with their speed and understanding.
"Faz is well aware of that. And has got to work out a way of making them think twice.
"He's got to get into them because if you give that pair, who are the best centre comination in the northern hemisphere, too much space, then you're in trouble."
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson