Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton has lauded the current form of Brian O’Driscoll, whose run of three tries in as many matches has helped Ireland move to the top of the RBS 6 Nations table and be within two matches of an elusive Grand Slam.
Whether it is the new coaching regime, turning 30 or it being a Lions year, things seem to have clicked into place for Brian O’Driscoll as he tries to drive Ireland on to their first Championship title since 1985.
O’Driscoll has been in inspired form in the 2009 tournament, rolling back the years to score a trademark side-stepping try against France, picking off an intercept score against Italy and then muscling over from close range for a crucial touchdown against England last weekend.
His man-of-the-match display against England included a drop goal and added to his incredibly consistent efforts in defence, the Dubliner has been immense for Ireland this year.
Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton is clearly delighted by O’Driscoll’s talismanic form and the way he has responded to being asked to continue as captain of the side.
“The Irish management decided that he should be captain, for a start, and that gave, in the management’s view, a confidence in his form and his leadership,” he said.
“He has had a fantastic Championship so far, and if you said was he going to play like that and score three tries in three matches you might have said, ‘let’s hope so’.
“I think what we’ve seen from Brian to date (in the Championship) are clips of things that we’ve seen over the last five or six years. He’s had to adapt as he’s got older.”
O’Driscoll’s run of 18 points (three tries and a drop goal) has seen him scoring in three successive Six Nations matches for the first time since 2000, when he grabbed tries against Scotland, Italy and most famously France (3).
McNaughton added: “We haven’t been surprised (by his form) – that’s ultimately why it was decided not to change the captaincy because of his leadership, because of his ability defensively and because of his ability to change a game.
“I think we are all pleasantly happy that he is playing in the form he is at the moment – in particular in the big game against England.”