Wednesday, September 21, 2011

World Cup Player Spotlight


Today we shift our focus onto Brian O' Driscoll of the Irish National Team (Who by the way beat Australia on Saturday)

Brian Gerald O'Driscoll (born 21 January 1979) is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season.

He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Registered at University College Dublin RFC, he plays at outside centre for the Irish provincial team Leinster.

O'Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.

O'Driscoll has 121 Test caps, 115 for Ireland (78 as captain), and 6 for the British and Irish Lions. During this time he has scored 44 tries for Ireland and 1 try for the Lions in 2001, making him the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby.

He is 8th-highest try scorer in Rugby Union history, and the highest scoring centre of all time. O'Driscoll holds the Six Nations record for most tries scored with 25. He has scored the most Heineken Cup tries (29) for an Irishman.

 He is widely regarded as one of the best centres of all time.

International Rugby

B.O'D. captaining Ireland vs Georgia in the 2007 RWCIn 1999, O'Driscoll was selected for the senior squad and was on the bench for a match against Italy (this was not a Six Nations match as Italy did not enter the competition until the following year), although he did not play. He won his first Test cap at age 20 on 12 June 1999 in a 46–10 loss to Australia in Brisbane as part of the tour of Australia. Since then, he has established himself as one of rugby's top outside centres. O'Driscoll played for Ireland before he played for the senior Leinster team. In 2000, O'Driscoll scored a Hat-trick of tries in a Six Nations Championship victory against France in Paris, propelling Ireland to their first win in Paris since 1972.

O'Driscoll's popularity in Ireland was expressed by supporters wearing T-shirts bearing the motto "In BOD We Trust" (a play on "In God We Trust", the phrase that appears on all United States currency and coinage).In 2002, O'Driscoll starred in Irelands 18–9 win over Australia, the first Irish victory over the Wallabies since 1979. In 2003, following the international retirement of long-time Ireland captain Keith Wood, he was awarded the captaincy. In that year, O'Driscoll led Ireland to second place in the Six Nations Championship. This was followed by Triple Crowns in 2004 (Ireland's first crown since 1985), 2006 and 2007. In 2004, O'Driscoll captained Ireland to a 17–12 victory over South Africa, the first Irish win over the Springboks since 1965.

In 2009, O'Driscoll was again selected as captain, leading Ireland to win the Triple Crown, Six Nations Championship and their first Grand Slam in 61 years. He scored a try in every match except one, culminating in a 17–15 victory in Cardiff in which O'Driscoll again scored a try and was the RBS man of the match. On 27 March 2009, he was named as player of the 2009 Six Nations Championship. O'Driscoll won a fans' online poll ahead of runner-up, Italy back-row Sergio Parisse, and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell who came third. In May 2009, he was named the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player of the Year for the past season.

On 15 November 2009, in a 20–20 draw against Australia at Croke Park, O'Driscoll scored a last minute try. The next day, he was named as one of the seven nominations for the 2009 International Rugby Board player of the year, but, to much criticism, he controversially missed out to Richie McCaw for this title by a solitary point.
O'Driscoll started for and captained Ireland for every match during the 2010 Six Nations Championship. He picked up his 100th test cap for Ireland against Wales in the Millennium Stadium. He scored his 40th test try against New Zealand on 12 June 2010.

He started every match for Ireland in the 2010 Autumn Tests, and bested the Four/Five/Six Nations record for tries scored against England in March 2011.

O'Driscoll has played for Ireland in the last three World Cups (13 caps, 6 tries). He became Ireland's most capped player on 26 June 2010 against Australia, winning his 103rd cap.

In the 2011 Six Nations Championship, O’Driscoll’s 47th minute try against England, took him past Ian Smith’s 78-year-old record of 24 tries to become the leading Championship try scorer of all time with 25 Tries. On that day, O'Driscoll also equaled John Smit's International Captaincy caps of 75.

British and Irish Lions
O'Driscoll appeared in all three British and Irish Lions Tests on the team's 2001 tour of Australia where he announced himself as a world star with an outstanding individual try in the 1st Test victory at The Gabba in Brisbane. On 11 April 2005, he was named captain of the team for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Prior to that tour, he had been named captain of the Northern Hemisphere side for the IRB Rugby Aid Match (a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami fundraiser) held at Twickenham in March 2005, but was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury, but appeared pitch-side for the match.

O'Driscoll's playing contribution to the 2005 Lions ended in the opening minutes of the first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch on 25 June 2005, when he was carried off the field on a stretcher with a shoulder injury just after being spear-tackled in tandem by All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu after the ball had been cleared out of a ruck. He extended one arm to protect his head, and his shoulder was dislocated on impact.

The independent citing commissioner found that the New Zealand players had no case to answer, and The Lions management were criticised by New Zealanders for attempting to divert attention from the teams poor performance. However, four months later, and following new footage of the incident, the International Rugby Board unequivocally condemned the spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu, stating: "This footage wasn't available at the time and the IRB are unable to act retrospectively because the two sides had both signed a tour agreement whereby disciplinary matters had to be resolved within 12 hours of the match".The International Rugby Board's communications manager Greg Thomas stated "...that dangerous tackles like this have no part in the game". Although unable to play, O'Driscoll remained as non-playing captain on a losing tour and only underwent surgery on his return. He then released a DVD entitled Brian O'Driscoll's Lions Diary in which he described his tour experience and his opinion of the events that transpired.

On 21 April 2009, O'Driscoll was selected as part of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.On 1 June 2009, he was named as captain of the Lions for the game against the Golden Lions taking place on 3 June, in place of the rested Paul O'Connell. This was the first time he has captained the Lions since the spear tackle incident in New Zealand in 2005. He was also named in the outside centre position for the Lions in their first test of the 2009 tour against South Africa, in which he made two assists as the Lions lost 26 – 21. He was forced to withdraw from the tour on 30 June before the third and final test due to a head injury and subsequent concussion he suffered in the second test.

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