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France 20-22 Ireland
O'Driscoll delighted with perfect ending
ESPN Staff
March 15, 2014
Ireland celebrate their Six Nations success © PA Photos

Brian O'Driscoll said he was "extremely lucky" to finish his Ireland career with another Six Nations title.

Ireland's 22-20 win in Paris marks the end of O'Driscoll's time wearing the green jersey as he prepares to retire from professional rugby at the end of the season.

"I played on for one more year hopeful to get a victory against the All Blacks - that didn't happen - and to win a Six Nations, and that did happen," O'Driscoll said. "You can't have it all, but you take the bits that you get.

"Not many people get to finish their career on their own terms - certainly not with high emotions like today. I'm extremely lucky and thankful to have been a part of a great, great team. It's been a fantastic Six Nations for us. I've enjoyed every second.

Fairytale ending for Brian O'Driscoll

  • It was the perfect finish. Brian O'Driscoll's been involved in his fair share of mooted 'fairytale endings'. His last was in Sydney, but it was a tainted experience. When the British & Irish Lions finally got their first series win in 16 years on Australian turf, he was sat in the stands, suited and brown-leather booted. He later had the Tom Richards Cup in his hands but there was a feeling of imperfect glory.
  • Come March 15, 2014, at the end of the match he was on the field, green Ireland shirt clinging to him with rugby boots on his feet. While in Australia it was his fellow non-used team-mates who hugged him, this time it was the rest of the players who had just secured their first title since 2009. The smile was the same but there was no hint of a hollow feeling to this triumph for O'Driscoll.
  • He was named Man of the Match and while he was denied a try by a last-ditch Maxime Medard tackle, he has another winner's medal to add to his collection of polished silverware.
  • Read the full verdict here

"I don't really want to take this jersey off yet, because I know when I do it's the last time. I'm dragging the arse out of it a little bit!"

O'Driscoll battled to keep his emotions in check when questioned by broadcasters post-match and admitted there will be tears shed while celebrating Ireland's first Six Nations title since 2009.

"I think I tried to channel the emotions into the performance," O'Driscoll said. "I played fair today, and you can't allow the occasion to get the better of you. You have to try to make sure you're the cog in the wheel for the team.

"Emotions come afterwards and they did. I'm sure there will be a few tears - later on, with multiple beers on board, probably. It's a lovely way to finish out. I've had so much fun over the last 15 years, and I feel very grateful to finish in this fantastic way. I got a frog in my throat on the final whistle all right.

"You're not yourself sometimes when you're being interviewed. It feels as though you're trying to present a certain way. After scenarios like today it comes out a bit more, particularly when it's the end. You have to be as natural as you can.

"Over the course of the next while, when it sinks in, I'm sure it will flood out. When I pull the jersey off it will be hard, but it will come with a great sense of happiness to finish off with a great high after a lot of nearly moments."

Ireland boss Schmidt said he will miss coaching "workaholic" O'Driscoll immensely as he celebrated winning the championship in his first year as head coach of the national side.

"I've worked with Brian for four years now, and he's a man I respect hugely," Schmidt said. "He's a player I really enjoy coaching. His work ethic is massive. If you think you've got to where you need to be, and you're talented, to work so hard that you maximise those special attributes, the example he sets with his character... All that I will most certainly miss.

"I don't think they can come in and fill his shoes straight away - they will have slightly smaller feet. But hopefully they can grow into them."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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