Australia v Ireland, Brisbane, June 26
O'Driscoll respectful of Horne danger
June 25, 2010
Brian O'Driscoll is aware of the threat posed by Rob Horne © Getty Images
Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll will give Wallabies youngster Rob Horne plenty of respect when the two go head-to-head at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Twenty-year-old Horne, who will win his fourth cap, has this week praised O'Driscoll as the benchmark for outside-centres and while the Test centurion is flattered he will not be caught off guard.
"He'll get the same respect I'd give to any opposing outside-centre," O'Driscoll said. "He's obviously played well this year and it's flattering to hear some nice things, but you don't fall into that trap at the same time.
"He's the new blood, and he's going to try to go out and prove his own point. Reputations don't count for a huge amount, when you get out in Test match rugby it's all about that moment."
Ireland defence coach, Les Kiss, has first-hand knowledge of Horne after working with him at the Waratahs and highlighted his ability to break tackles as an area that Ireland will be on guard against.
"When I was with Ewen [McKenzie] at the Waratahs he brought Rob into the squad and blooded him as a youngster," Kiss said. "Based on his uninhibited approach to the game - he just goes for it 100 miles per hour - he's a guy that you have to finish your tackle on, because he fights hard to get through.
"He's a good off-loader through the line, defensively he's very strong - he has a good read in defence. There's a lot of similarities to Drico [O'Driscoll]; he can come out of the line and close down players as well. I know he looks up to Brian so it's a big challenge for him."
Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom, a cult hero with Leinster fans after helping them to the Heineken Cup in 2009, is expecting both centres to see plenty of the ball in an open encounter.
"I'd be surprised if the game doesn't open up a bit; that's how they generally play against us," he said. "I think because we both have similar styles, it's easier for that to happen. "Except for a game in 2006, I haven't really played against Ireland in a game that hasn't been free flowing and attacking. It suits us too. We're under no illusions that our attacking game is when we're strongest, so we'll be looking to get into that."