O'Driscoll not thinking about retirement
February 7, 2013
Brian O'Driscoll rolled back the years to claim the Man of the Match honour in Ireland's opening Six Nations victory over Wales © PA Photos
Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll has refused to confirm this year's Six Nations will be his last and insists his body will tell him when it is time to retire.
The 34-year-old recently hinted that he may be nearing the end of his glittering playing career but a Man of the Match performance in Ireland's opening Six Nations victory over Wales last weekend showed that the veteran centre still has plenty to offer.
And ahead of his side's Six Nations showdown with England in Dublin on Sunday that some are billing as the title-decider, he insists that nothing is set in stone and he is content to "live in the moment".
"I said it because I was asked the question. I hadn't intended causing a stir, I was just being honest in answering a question," he told PA Sport. "I haven't really allowed myself to think about it. If you start thinking about retirement in six months time you're already there.
"I just want to concentrate on my rugby and enjoy it and live in the moment. It will all evolve. The situation will unfold. I'll have to listen to my body. I'll talk to my wife for her point of view - there are lots of factors, not just me, that come into those decisions.
"I haven't been wondering if Saturday will be the last time I'll play England in the Aviva Stadium, far from it. Winning man of the match against Wales doesn't have a bearing. It's a nice reminder that it's still there. But with regards to the decision-making process, because I'm not thinking about it, it hasn't altered my thinking.
"Maybe when the time comes I'll look back in previous performances, but a huge amount of it is about listening to your body. Games like last weekend take a long time to recover from when you're a little bit older.
"It's the cumulative effect as well. If you're lucky enough to play five Six Nations games in seven weeks that has a huge knock on effect. I'm at game two, feeling okay and looking forward to England."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney chose to retain No.8 Jamie Heaslip as his captain for the Six Nations in a surprising move that many suggested would allow O'Driscoll to concentrate on his own game and fitness with what would be a fourth British & Irish Lions tour looming on the horizon.
But O'Driscoll insists it has little impact on his approach or his role within the squad. "I don't think not being captain has made much difference," he said. "I've read a little bit of stuff over the last while that taking the burden of captaincy away from me has allowed me to think about my game. I'd like think that in the 10 years I was captain I played a few all right games as well.
"It hasn't changed the way I go about my business or the way I carry on around camp. I still say things when they need to be said. I give a little bit of insight if I feel I can, or simply commend the young lads if they do something good. I suppose I thought at some point the captaincy would be passed on, but looking forward I'm not going to be around for the 2015 World Cup, so it's a good opportunity to gave Jamie a run in it.
"Jamie's going to be around for a considerable amount of time, albeit that didn't make the decision any easier or lessen the disappointment when I was told."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.