Ireland rugby great O’Gara pays tribute to O’Driscoll

“Brian is a warrior, Brian is a leader”

 Attending the Ireland Fund annual rugby luncheon at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, yesterday were Ollie Campbell, Jack Kyle and Ronan O’Gara. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Attending the Ireland Fund annual rugby luncheon at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, yesterday were Ollie Campbell, Jack Kyle and Ronan O’Gara. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 01:01


Former Ireland and Munster fly

half Ronan O’Gara has paid tribute to Brian O’Driscoll as the former Ireland rugby captain embarks on his final Six Nations tournament.

“Brian is a warrior. Brian is a leader,” said O’Gara praising the Leinster man as a great player and a great friend.

Speaking at an Ireland Funds lunch in Dublin where he was the guest of honour, O’Gara mixed affectionately abusive jibes at his former Leinster place-kicking rival Johnny Sexton with self-deprecating humour and fond memories of the rivalry that fuelled Heineken Cup clashes between Munster and Leinster.

Saying that Sexton’s sojourn in France, where O’Gara trains him at Racing Metro, would benefit the Irish team, O’Gara added that the Irish team had “eyed up the World Cup”.

He described his state of mind as “a little more chilled” and spoke of his fondness for O’Driscoll, whom he called “the golden boy”.

“Brian’s actions speak louder than words . . . he’s a great friend . . . You get that friendship I think from the respect, from looking into a fellow’s eyes knowing there’s eight minutes to go, five minutes to go; 13 all. Are you up for it? Are we going to do this, or are we not? Sometimes you . . . just have to look at him.”

Whether O’Driscoll and the team are “up for it” will be known tomorrow afternoon.