O'Driscoll expecting a close call in Dublin
February 27, 2009
Brian O'Driscoll is expecting a hard-fought match-up with England © Getty Images
Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll has refused to take lightly the task of downing Martin Johnson's England at Croke Park on Saturday, even if his answers to questions about Johnson would have earned a raised eyebrow even from former footballer Eric Cantona.
"Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, while wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad," he said.
What relevance, if any, this answer has to Johnson only O'Driscoll knows, but he was less guarded when it came to evaluating the challenge ahead of his Ireland side. O'Driscoll missed out two years ago when Ireland thrashed England 43-13 at Croke Park, but has enough experience of playing England to know that victory isn't assured.
"Martin wants to win everywhere he goes. He's always been a tremendous competitor and that will translate to his management," he said. "When you play England there's an incentive to make sure you're at your best. We have huge respect for all teams but that history between the two countries adds that little bit extra when we play England.
"There's awareness of the match throughout the country and that adds to it too. It's most likely to be the last time we play them at Croke Park so we'd like to keep it two from two. We always expect tough game against England. Taking away the fixture two years ago any time we've beaten England has been by less than a score. That speaks volumes and it always go to the death if you are to beat them. The hard ones are worth winning, you don't get so much enjoyment out of winning the easy ones."
With Ireland suffering in the same manner as other nations in the midst of the credit crunch certain media outlets have speculated that there is a nations' morale riding on tomorrow's result at Croke Park.
"If we were to say our desire to win tomorrow is greater than before we'd be lying," said Ireland head coach Declan Kidney. "Our desire to win tomorrow is in the here and now. We have to understand how fortunate we are to be in a career that we like.
"We're very conscious that we're a representative side and want to do that to the best of our ability. This is good place to live and we have a great sporting public on this island. People will be behind us if they know that we've given everything we can.
"The pressure for us is to be as good as we can be tomorrow. We want to do our families and all the people around proud."
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'