Home International Rugby Brian O’Driscoll’s 5 toughest opponents

Brian O’Driscoll’s 5 toughest opponents

by Saba Gulmagarashvili
Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland and Lions centre, has chosen the toughest opponents from his remarkable rugby career.

Brian O’Driscoll, the Ireland and Lions centre, has chosen the toughest opponents from his remarkable rugby career.

Here are his top five opponents, based on many Q&As throughout the years, including one on the Six Nations website:

Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Brian’s Comment:

“Same height as me [5-foot-11] and still 16-stone. Probably the most complete centre in the modern game.”

Ma’a Nonu Brian O’Driscoll's 5 toughest opponents

Richard Hill (England)

Brian’s Comment:

 “Richard Hill, England No.6 that won the World Cup in 2003. He was a brilliant teammate but he made that team tick, he was the unsung hero in that world cup win. He was hard! I always liked playing with guys that were nails in the team, that really stood up and never took a backwards step.”

Richard Hill Brian O’Driscoll's 5 toughest opponents

Yannick Jauzion (France)

Brian’s Comment:

“Jauzion was just incredible and was so hard to stop, with his offloading ability. France built so much off and around him. 6-foot-4 and probably 17-stone.”

Yannick Jauzion Brian O’Driscoll's 5 toughest opponents

Conrad Smith (New Zealand)

Brian’s Comment:

 “I thought Conrad Smith was always one of the really difficult ones. He was nicknamed ‘Snake’ I think because of his hips and it doesn’t look like he’s going that fast but jeez, he can travel.”

Conrad Smith Brian O’Driscoll's 5 toughest opponents

Jonny Wilkinson (England)

Brian’s Comment:

“Even to just get a snapshot of what his mind works like now and how he thinks about things is pretty eye-opening as to what sort of detail he went into as a player. He’s an out-and-out perfectionist, he just needs that 10 out of 10. I don’t think you ever achieve it and I think he beats himself up about it, but he got pretty close to 10 a lot of times.”

Jonny Wilkinson Brian O’Driscoll's 5 toughest opponents

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