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5 Reasons Why Brian O’Driscoll (BOD) is so magnificent

8 March 2014

Brian O'DriscollSo I realise I am walking a fine line as an Englishman by paying tribute to one of Ireland’s greats, but hopefully that highlights his brilliance (I should also add that conflict is developing within the Vaughan family as Jacob is very firmly a ‘greens’ and not a ‘whites’ fan!!). After watching his last home game at the Aviva stadium yesterday here is why I think BOD so magnificent.

(1) His Ability
There can be no question that he is one of the greatest players of the last 2 decades, some are saying of all time and maybe they are right. His speed, his offloads (the first 3 tries yesterday wouldn’t have happened without his superb offloads), his ability to run the right line, his hiding behind the ruck and squeezing over the line (a number 7 in a 13 jersey!), his link-up play and so on and so forth are second to none. When he is on form he is just fantastic to watch. I listened to a program this week by Shane Hogan who had heard Brian’s Dad Frank say that from a young age he had incredible balance (riding a bike without stabilisers at 3 years old). Shane then remembered a story when they were on tour and it was a rest day so they had gone water skiing. BOD had never water skied before yet he was straight up. However one of his skis then fell off but it didn’t affect him one bit and he finished his go with one ski and one bare foot. Incredible natural balance.

(2) His Courage
O’Driscoll arrived on the international scene when he scored three great tries against France in 2000. This was the beginning of the golden age and brought belief to Irish rugby. However BOD is not just great offensively but, like all the greats, he is a fierce tackler, with great technique and strength. But particularly over the last few years as his body has got that bit slower we have seen his courage, putting his body on the line for the sake of the team. Regularly going off injured to get himself bandaged up and then coming back on to finish the match. He has warrior-like courage on the pitch with last ditch tackles in the dying moments of a game.


(3) His Longevity

What makes BOD one of the greats is that he has more international caps than anyone else in the history of the game, overtaking the Australian scrum half George Gregon yesterday, with his 140th cap. What an achievement!

BOD

He has had his injuries but has managed to bounce back, and although not the biggest player on the field and unlike many modern day centres, he has managed to keep his body fit, strong and healthy for a long time! His records speak for themselves, not only is the most capped player in rugby union history he is the highest try scorer of all time in Irish rugby, the 8th of in rugby union history and the highest scoring centre of all time. He has the record for the most tries in the Six Nations and the most tries scored by an Irishman in the Heineken Cup. Wonder the Leinster and Irish faithful say “In BOD we trust.”

(4) His team focus
It is very hard to be the best and also be a team player. Often the best players’ egos get the better of them and they are more concerned about their performance than the team performance, more concerned about their accolades rather than the result. BOD is an example of a team player; that is why he puts his body on the line, comes back from injury and comes back on the pitch with a bloody bandage around his head. He loves to wear the green jersey and represent his country. A great example for any young rugby player.

(5) He’s one of us
Linked with his team focus is his down-to-earth nature. He hasn’t let his fame and success get to his head. Everyone I have spoken to who has met him says he is a genuine guy and that is how he comes across in interviews and talk shows. He seems like a humble family man who loves his rugby but doesn’t think he is better than anyone else. You could see that he enjoyed (and was overwhelmed by) the praise he received yesterday but he managed to accept it without brushing it off with false humility (which fails the fans) nor glorying in it unduely at the expense of the game at hand (which fails the team).

It was amazing to read on Facebook and hear on Radio/TV today comments like

“he has helped our country through these tough times”

“he has bought smiles to our faces when little else has.”

He is a great role model and inspiration for many. People can relate to him and find him a great source of strength themselves. He has not taken his position in the limelight trivially but has played, lived and led in such a way as to give hope to a nation.

These are my 5 reasons why I think Brian O’Driscoll is magnificent. Do you have any others?

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