Another insight into the thoughts of high achievers, this time featuring Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’arcy- the world record setting partnership in the Irish midfield. We, at ORB believe in the value of partnering with someone you can completely trust, who is agile, tough and offers world class service!
GORDON D’ARCY 82 Caps for Ireland
BRIAN O’DRISCOLL 133 Caps for Ireland
Q: Who was your most frustrating opponent/player? (any reason)
GD: “They generally tend to be 7s & 9s one for rugby and the other just mouthy. 7s usually the fittest guys on the pitch and always seem to be at or near the ball before you. Richie always ranks up there, Serge Betsen & Neil Back were not too far behind. 9s tend to just never shut up and have that unique way of getting under your skin, Morgan Para and Justin Marshal top the list”.
BO’D: “I tried not get too frustrated by any player but I had some great tussles throughout the years with some individuals. Yannick Jauzion of France was always an incredibly tough opponent. Tim Horan, whom I’m got my first cap against was also a serious handful even in the winter of his career”.
Q: Will Ireland beat NZ in the next 5 years?
GD: “If not in the next year it will be a long time again. I think NZ have lost a huge spine of their team form the last decade as well as a core leadership group (Can anyone actually replace MaCall’s influence on & off the pitch). If Ireland can correct their injury list before Nov and in particular Chicago I think we can beat them”.
BO’D: “I hope so. It’s a big regret that I never got to achieve it during my playing days. You’d like to think it will happen at some stage so sooner rather than later would be preferable”.
Q: On the whole, UK and Ireland rugby players are better educated than Kiwis- is this a help or a hindrance?
GD: “I’ll be honest and say I don’t know much about the NZ education, the guys I have met are all very smart and competent people. Isa is a great example of a well rounded player. There is a premium put on education in Ireland and as long as the player finds balance from it, I believe it is very important for their future development”.
BO’D: “If that is the case I think it’s a help because there are a lot of years to live after you finish playing ball. Even if you make a lot of money during your playing days you have to know what to do with it, to make it work for you. Education is key to that”.
Q: How much does team cohesion off the field, contribute to a successful team?
GD: “This is one of the great intangibles. How important is it, how do you get it, how to you maintain it?? Players have to strive together to succeed, each individual has to commit to the ethos of the team and when this happens you see great things. For example England winning ’03, Ireland back to back 6nations and NZ with back to back RWC”.
BO’D: “Massively. Investing time in one another off the pitch is crucial to building relationships on it”.
Q: Where do you think Richie McCaw sits in the history books?
GD: “In the modern game one of the most influential players ever. I’ve asked loads of people about him and his virtues were sang from the roof tops, both his leadership (can never be understated) and his ability as a player. He was the modern game’s perfect 7. I’ll pay him the best Irish complement, he was the New Zealand Paul O’Connell”.
BO’D: “On the front page!”
Q: Biggest regret if any?
GD: “Not beating NZ. In Nov ’13 we had our absolute best chance after a few close class over the previous 10yrs or so. That game took me along time to get over but I look back at it with fonder memories now, I played against the best and had my best game at 33yrs of age and held my own”.
BO’D: “Not beating the AB’s and never getting beyond a quarter final in the RWC.”
Q: What is the achievement you’re most proud of?
GD: “Getting my first cap will always be a highlight for me and winning the ’09 grand slam from the rugby side. I recently became a father and this is one of the proudest moments to date. I enjoyed my rugby career, was successful, ended more or less on my terms and I don’t think In could have asked for than that”.
BO’D: “Easy answer – Marrying my very easy going wife & having 2 great kids.”
Q: Why do you think there were no northern hemisphere teams in the recent RWC semi finals?
GD: “I think rugby in the Northern Hemisphere is a business, it is nobody’s first choice sport and possibly more worries about how to make money that succeed. There is a natural skill gap between the hemispheres and I think this gap has gotten bigger in recent years. The amount of foreigners playing in all leagues in the Northern Hem are great for the club game but the net effect on international game is detrimental to closing the gap”.
BO’D: “Small margins in games. Wales for me were potential RWC finalists if they hadn’t been riddled with injuries. Scotland even though there weren’t better than Aussie should have gotten there on the day & Ireland can’t deal with 5 key players being out of the starting 15. France were awful at the RWC but also came up against comfortably the best team in it”.
Q: Keeping fit – or enjoying being able to eat and drink to your heart’s content – What are you looking forward to after rugby?
GD: “Not being sore all the time. Not many centres will play as long as I did, are my size and I was never as fast as Matt Giteau. A decade or so of tackling Ma’ Nonu & whatever enormous ball carriers coming down my channel has left its mark. I’m still getting my head around having a beer after work (still feels alien), I am looking forward to finding a challenge in the near future, I don’t think that part of me will ever die.. Maybe the camino de santiago”.
BO’D: “It’s a big balance right now. Harder to say no to a beer at night when you’ve no reason to deny yourself. On the flip side no one wants to see an overweight ex athlete, particularly their wife”.
Q: Why do you think Irish and Kiwis seem to bond better than most rugby nations?
GD: “Huge amounts of similarities, not too may ‘airs & graces’, play the game and get on with it and we always enjoy a beer! Plus everyone loves the Irish I guess”.
BO’D: “Easy going demeanours”.
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