O'Driscoll picks up another award


Rugby – Awards:The awards just keep coming for Brian O’Driscoll. Just days after being named World Player of the Decade, Ireland’s Grand Slam captain has won the prestigious, if rather long-winded, Rugby Union Writers’ Club (RUWC) Pat Marshall Memorial Award as the sport’s outstanding personality for 2009.

British and Irish Lions head coach Ian McGeechan was also honoured, receiving the RUWC’s discretionary Special Award for his services to rugby.

The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony in London tonight, although O’Driscoll has sent a video message from Dublin where he is preparing for Leinster’s Heineken Cup clash with Brive on Saturday.

O’Driscoll (30) has been recognised for a triumphant season in which he won the European Cup with Leinster and Ireland won the Grand Slam under his leadership for the first time in 61 years.

O’Driscoll then embarked on a third British and Irish Lions tour and was a key figure for McGeechan’s side in a remarkable series against world champions South Africa.

The Lions fell agonisingly short but O’Driscoll’s individual performances confirmed his status as one of the game’s greatest players.

Although the RUWC award is for the season 2008-09, O’Driscoll enjoyed a measure of revenge when he captained Ireland to victory over the Springboks in November to complete an unbeaten year for Declan Kidney’s side.

McGeechan who won the Pat Marshall Award in 1990 after guiding Scotland to a Five Nations Grand Slam.

The former Headingley and Scotland centre has served on seven tours of duty with the Lions - two as a player (1974 and 1977) and five as a coach, four of them as head coach.