Brian O’Driscoll makes huge impact in record breaking win over Scotland
Coach Joe Schmidt praises 35-year-old after emphatic victory
By Patrick Counihan
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt praised record breaker Brian O’Driscoll after the 28-6 Six Nations win over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.
O’Driscoll is now the most capped player in Irish rugby history after his 129th appearance in the green shirt as the Scots were sent packing.
Rob Kearney also enjoyed a milestone with a try on his 50th cap. Andrew Trimble and Jamie Heaslip, captain in the absence of the ill Paul O’Connell, also crossed the line.
Jonathan Sexton added two penalties and three conversions as Ireland recorded their first Championship win under new coach Schmidt.
Wales is next up for Ireland on Saturday with Schmidt keen for the 35-year-old O’Driscoll to carry on in the same vein after topping the tackle charts with 24 blocks on the Scots.
Schmidt joked, “If he can hit 24 next week I think we’ll get the perfect blend; he’s Brian Button now. Brian got through his defensive workload pretty effectively, and we knew he would have to.
“He had Scotland number eight David Denton coming round the corner, who was a real threat for them. I thought he did a fantastic offensive tackle towards the end of the game, where if they’d broken the line they would have been able to have one last shot at us.
“But he took all that time and space away, wrapped the guy up, got to his feet, stole the ball. That’s the sort of quality he brings, it wasn’t just the quality of the tackle, it’s the quality of what he did post-tackle that makes him great value.
“By his own standards there were a couple of loose passes, and he’ll look to tidy that up. But again, he’s a player who plays well when he’s had a couple of games under his belt. So he’ll be a little bit more comfortable again next week.
“You feel a little bit more under pressure to create something when you haven’t had a lot of ball. It’s a fine line balance between taking risks and pushing it too far.”
The Irish players are already looking ahead to the visit of Wales and their Lions coach Warren Gatland.
Stand-in captain Heaslip said, “I’ve played with some of them on both tours, as athletes they are big guys, they’ve got some serious athletes there. Some of their backs are bigger than their forwards.
“And some of their forwards are great footballers who get through a lot of work as well, carrying extremely hard.
“Wales play a simple game and do it very well, and if you get the basics right in this game you can thrive.”