Schmidt wants Brian O’Driscoll to help potential successors

Ireland coach keen to keep centre close to Irish camp

Joe Schmidt's press conference from the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. He discusses the match, the injury to Sexton and a possible coaching role for Brian O'Driscoll.

Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 13:50

Brian O’Driscoll has already stated that he has no interest in coaching but Irish coach Joe Schmidt hopes that the outside centre might stay around the Irish camp to continue to develop the younger players coming through.

Schmidt yesterday named a raft of players who could possibly fill the outside centre position post-O’Driscoll, including Robbie Henshaw, Darren Cave and Luke Fitzgerald.

On Monday Leinster manager Guy Easterby also pointed out that Tommy Bowe played in the position during his stint with Welsh side Ospreys.

“Yeah, we’ve tried to bleed him dry over the last six months,” said Schmidt about O’Driscoll. “We had him sitting down in video camps with Darren and Robbie, bleeding as much as we can. We’d be delighted if he stayed reasonably close to the group because of his character as well as his on-field intelligence.

“But I guess that depends on Amy (Huberman) and Sadie (daughter) and the commitments they have. I guess his target is recuperating over the next week because there are some massive games for provinces. One of the challenges set was to go back as international players and continue their form through their provinces. There is some fantastic footie coming up.”

Schmidt, whose next task is to go back to the players and listen to their feedback after a successful Six Nations, also noted that Ulster’s New Zealand-born back Jared Payne, who is Irish qualified this year, will also be considered as an international successor to O’Driscoll.

“Jared Payne will definitely be another guy in the frame,” said Schmidt of the 28-year-old. “He’s a class player, an exceptional player with natural intuition and a very good decision-maker on the field.

“He tends to avoid first tackle or beat the first tackle and he’s flexible. In Ulster he plays a lot of fullback because Luke Marshall and Darren Cave are there.”

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