O’Driscoll looking to finish on a Six Nations high

The Six Nations tournament reaches an emotional finale on Saturday with Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll looking for a triumphant exit from international rugby by clinching the title.

Ireland, England and France all have a chance of winning the tournament. But O’Driscoll’s dream of leaving in glory can come true if Ireland secure only their second win over France in Paris in 42 years.

O’Driscoll is the most capped rugby union player and an Irish sporting legend. Even US President Barack Obama mentioned the Irish centre at a Washington reception on Friday.

“There’ll be a little more emotion” in making his 141st appearance for Ireland in this crunch match, O’Driscoll told the BBC ahead of the France battle.

“I’m sure there will be tears, whether you will see them or not we’ll have to wait and see,” added the 35-year-old who made his debut for Ireland in 1999 but has only won the Six Nations once, in 2009.

France will take on Ireland (kickoff 1700 GMT) after England play Italy in Rome (1230 GMT). Wales play Scotland at 1445 GMT in a match with no bearing on the title though Gethin Jenkins will earn a record 105th Welsh cap.

Ireland, England and France each have three wins going into the final round. If two teams are level at the end of the day, the title will go to the nation with the best points difference. Ireland have an 81 points scored advantage, while England have only 32 and France just three.

Any Irish win should see O’Driscoll go out in glory. He admits that winning in Paris is a huge challenge however.

England must score a massive win over Italy or hope that France beat Ireland.France must beat Ireland and pray that Italy produce their first ever Six Nations win over the English.

O’Driscoll says this Irish team is one of the best prepared ever and has the mettle to beat the French. Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony, who is seen as a potential future captain, says the team have not discussed being anything “special”.

“We have got ready for what is a Cup final for us and it is about getting things right on the day,” he said.

O’Mahony said that while there was pressure on the team it was the sort that he yearned for.

“Ever since I was a small lad I have wanted to compete in these type of games and for trophies.”

England’s assistant coach Andy Farrell said that France could help their old rivals get only their second Six Nations title in the past decade.

France have been bitterly criticised at home for recent displays and Farrell said the frustration of their players could influence the Paris match.

“I think the French are at their best when their backs are against the wall. I think there’s a few questions being asked of the French team over the last couple of weeks.

“It came to a head this week with people walking out of press conferences etcetera because they’re being challenged… when you get the French in that type of situation, it’s a very dangerous place to go,” said Farrell.

“It’s out of our hands. We can only concentrate on our game and look after ourselves do the business tomorrow.”

France have made four changes to the side that scored a narrow 19-17 win over Scotland last week, including bringing back the powerful Louis Picamoles, who was dropped against Scotland.

O’Mahony’s return is the only change for Ireland.

England originally named the starting XV who beat Wales last weekend, but brought Mako Vunipola into the side after prop Joe Marler became a father.

Manu Tullagi returns to the squad as a replacement.

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