Ireland’s O’Driscoll can’t wait to face All Blacks

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll says that his mid season injury enforced layoff after the rugby World Cup has reinvigorated his passion for rugby and he can’t wait to face the All Blacks.

Many expected O’Driscoll to call time on his international career after the Rugby World Cup but he says he is not ready to stop playing just yet.

Thirty-three-year-old O’Driscoll missed Ireland’s Six Nations campaign due to a pinched nerve in his neck which was giving him a “permanent stinger” in his shoulder and arm and this forced him to have an operation.

“The five months I had off from the World Cup have done me good,” O’Driscoll told Reuters after he was named to win his 118th cap for Ireland.

“They’ve freshened me up and allowed all the ailments to ease and have given me a hunger to get back playing (for Ireland). “

“The last time was during the World Cup and that seems like an eternity ago.”

O’Driscoll has been careful with managing his workload with his provincial team Leinster in order to stretch his playing career out for as long as possible and he may even play on next years British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

The Ireland star said that he had learned much from 37-year-old former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn who briefly joined Leinster on a short-term contract and helped them win the Heineken Cup after a season that lasted 15 months.

“People are always in a rush to retire you when you get to a certain age,” O’Driscoll added when asked if this was his last tour of New Zealand.

“I’m 33 now, but … the body feels good at the minute … and one thing I did learn from Brad Thorn was if you’re listening to your body and you feel good then go with that.”

The Ireland captain said that even though he has played 17 tests for Ireland and six for the Lions he was still learning how to play better rugby.

“You’re constantly trying to evolve and make yourself a better player and if that means taking things from another player’s game then so be it,” he said.

“There’s no patent on certain plays and moves within the sport we play.”

Ireland have been playing the All Blacks for 107 years but in all that time they have never beaten New Zealand and O’Driscoll admits they have a massive challenge ahead this weekend.

“It is always an enormous challenge and one you look forward to,” he added.

“This is the pinnacle, playing international sport against then world champions. How would you not be excited by that? “

“If you’re struggling to get up for that then it’s time to hang the boots up.”

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