Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll has said he is dreading the day he will have to retire from the sport.
O’Driscoll feels he may have another 18 months left in his career but he is already dreading the thought of leaving the Irish dressing room and walking away from competitive action:
“Throughout the years, I heard lads talking about the end of their careers and how much they were missing the camaraderie and the craic, and I was thinking that they were exaggerating.
“I was saying: ‘That’s a bit too much man love,’ but I can see it now. I can see what they were talking about.
When you’re involved for 10, 12, 14 years, that’s a huge part of your life. I’ve spent over a third of my life playing professional rugby, so it’s going to have a huge impact when the day comes that I’m not doing it anymore and I’m dreading it.
“Once you’re not part of a squad anymore, you’ll never feel the same with those lads.
It’s a tie-in that nobody else can have unless you’re part of a squad. I see guys who were hugely popular with Leinster over the last few years, John Fogarty, Malcolm O’Kelly and others, and because they’re not part of every-day training they just can’t have that connection. They’re still tied to certain people, but not the team as a whole. That’s all gone.”
Writing in the November issue of ‘Rugby World’ magazine, the Irish skipper said he feels that he still has unfinished business on the field:
“For me, the inspiration is about trying to be the best I can be, trying to show those who doubt me, the people who might think I’m over the hill, that I still have it.
You want to throw in some big performances and win things and silence those critics, that’s important. But you also want to try to leave some sort of legacy behind as to what kind of player you were.
“I don’t want to be somebody who just petered off towards the end of his career, I want to go out on a high.
“You’ll see some people on my Twitter account that say stuff.
“But I discovered one thing many years ago, and it’s that you can’t keep everybody happy. I tried it, but I gave it up a long, long time ago. You’re always going to have people who resent or dislike you because they heard some ridiculous rumour through the grapevine or, unbeknown to you, you did something to offend them.”