At Tuesday’s press conference to announce Kingspan as the title sponsor of the 2007 IRB Under-19 World Championship, Brian O’Driscoll recalled his days with the Irish Under-19s when they landed the world crown back in 1998.
ON IRELAND’S WIN IN 1998:
“At the time it was the major highlight (of my career). We beat France 18-0 in the final in Toulouse. How does it rate now? It doesn’t rate as highly as a lot that I’ve done since because I’ve had some great days.
“As much as underage rugby is great, there is nothing like senior rugby. The standard is 100 times greater. But I wouldn’t take anything away from it. For anyone who has played 19s, it’s a stepping sone. That’s what it is. You look at the likes of great players like Dan Carter, they’ve all come through this.”
ON THE DRAMATIC QUARTER-FINAL OVER SOUTH AFRICA IN 1998:
“We were 17-0 down to South Africa in the quarter-final and got it back to 17-17. It eventually went to penalty kicks before we won those on a technicality because they had used one of their players that hadn’t finished the game as one of their five kickers.
“We had lost in the penalty shoot-out 4-3, I think. Yeah, I did take one. It didn’t go over, though.
“I was goal-kicker as well then. I’d been banging them over from everywhere (in a previous game), from the touchline and then a penalty from 40 out. I don’t know what it was (in the shoot-out), my concentration lapsed and I grazed the post. It wasn’t one of my finer moments.”
ON UNDERAGE RUGBY:
“I think it does give you a taste for professional rugby. And yeah, it gives you a taste for success as well. That counts for a hell of a lot. Once you get a taste for it, you get selfish and you want more.”