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Try Scorer McGrath Hails O’Driscoll Influence

Try Scorer McGrath Hails O’Driscoll Influence

Fourteen years on from watching Brian O’Driscoll score a hat-trick against France on television, Ireland prop Jack McGrath will head to the same Paris venue next weekend for a Championship decider against les Bleus.

“It’s nice to get on and try and make an impact,” admitted Jack McGrath, who came off the bench to score first try in an Ireland jersey against Italy.

“The other lads on the bench got a few tries as well, so it’s nice to get on and make an impact. That’s what Joe (Schmidt) wants – he wants us to fit in, be disciplined and just know your stuff. It was nice to get the try.

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“There’s a lot of hard work that went into that. If you dwell on it too much, the occasion will pass you by.

“You have to step back and enjoy those times as well. This is a time you’ll look back on for the rest of your life. It’s a pleasure to have been part of it.”

A very tough and physical Italian pack tested the Irish forwards – especially during the first half of the 46-7 win – and McGrath knows it will be another step up in intensity at the Stade de France.

“(The performance) was a stepping stone. They (Italy) were a big, tough pack so it was good to get stuck into them and they really worked our maul today. There’s a few parts we can work on in that, and our scrum as well.

“There’s always a things to work on after games like this, but we’re just happy with the win. I thought it was a good tester this week, similar to what we might face next week.”

Being part of Brian O’Driscoll’s last home international and historic 140th Test appearance was special for McGrath who spoke about the immense contribution of O’Driscoll – not just to Irish rugby, but also to McGrath’s own development.

“I don’t think there has been anyone like that in Irish sport. For him to make this landmark he had caps-wise is just a testament to the man,” explained the St. Mary’s College clubman.

“He’s had a lot of injuries and he’s gotten through them, been injured and played on, gone through that wall that a lot of players don’t. As I said, it’s a massive testament to the professional that he is and his will to win.

“Obviously him scoring the tries in France was a massive one (memory). His tries against England for the Triple Crown the year after they’d won the World Cup, stuff like that.

“When you come into the senior squad with Leinster and Ireland initially, he’s a very easy guy to approach. He’s quite funny and he’s got a bit of humour, so you can have a bit of craic with him. That kind of breaks down barriers as well.”