Irish rugby will celebrate another significant player milestone this Saturday when centre Brian O’Driscoll becomes the second Irishman to play 100 times for his country. He spoke at today’s team announcement press conference about the achievement.
Did you think you were going to make 100 caps when you started?
“I don’t think you think that way. I think when you get your first cap it’s such a huge honour, particularly at a young age – when I was 20.
“I suppose at the start you want to get as many caps as possible, and then your mindset changes and you want to win as many times as possible in getting those caps.
“Winning individual games and then you get selfish and you want to win trophies, so you don’t really look on things like, ‘oh one day I hope to obtain 100.’
“If it comes well and good, but you just play and think of…certainly for a number of years I have thought that the next game I play in a green shirt could be my last, so I don’t think you can go too far wrong if you have that attitude.”
Except now that you are going to go on to a double century, yeah?
“Yeah, well I’m not chopped liver just yet! So we’ll try and play for as long as the body and mind and the coach still thinks that you have something to offer.”
Are you enjoying it as much as ever?
“Yeah, I am really enjoying it. Obviously last year was fantastic and that makes things a lot easier when you win a couple of trophies that you have been trying to win for a lot of years.
“It does make things easier for you and it makes you enjoy it that little bit more when we have that taste of success.
“But like I said, you do get selfish and I do know that there is an end line somewhere in sight, so it’s about trying to attain as much as possible in that remaining time.
“I love going training every day. There’s parts of the job – if you want to call it that – that I wouldn’t love. But for the most part, going out onto the pitch every day and getting to exercise for a living is pretty good.”
Paul O’Connell said yesterday that you are the complete players?
“If you think you are the finished article, you are finished because there are always aspects of your game that can be improved.
“The greatest players of all time – you look at them, and I’m sure they would tell you that there was always room for improvement. The Gareth Edwardses of the world, and even in the current age the likes of the Dan Carters.
“I’m sure these guys have always worked on certain aspects of their game, and the second I think that I have it cracked is the time for hanging my boots up because you’ve lost the plot.”