Ireland v Italy
O'Driscoll tips Henshaw to fill his boots
ESPN Staff
March 3, 2014
Brian O'Driscoll (left) has tipped Robbie Henshaw (right) to be Ireland's next outside centre © PA Photos

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll has tipped Robbie Henshaw to be the country's next mainstay at outside centre.

O'Driscoll will retire from rugby at the end of the season bringing to an end a spell which has seen him tie down the Ireland outside centre berth for 15 years. And he believes Connacht's Henshaw is the right man to fill his boots.

"Robbie is a very, very talented young lad, who is a great listener, a really good young talent, and really good lad too," O'Driscoll said. "I think he has all the attributes to be a seasoned campaigner for Ireland for many, many years.

"And then you have the beauty of guys who have played there before in Luke Fitzgerald, someone like Jared Payne who qualifies in November. As 13s absolutely Robbie and Darren Cave are well-placed; we've an abundance of talent coming through.

"So I think we're in a good place with guys coming through, and in no time no one will remember me!"

O'Driscoll admitted he thought last March's 13-13 draw with France in Dublin would prove his final Ireland turn on home soil. But he extended his career by a further season and come 2014, Ireland are focused on attempting to win their first title since 2009.

Saturday will be O'Driscoll's final match in Dublin for Ireland and he is parking any notion of sentimentality to focus on the match.

"I'm excited about it being a last home game, for sure, in that it will be one to remember. But at the same time and more importantly it's an opportunity to put ourselves in an opportunity to win the Six Nations.

"I really won't think too much on the final games until it's done and dusted, and there'll be plenty of time to reflect on it afterwards. There was emotion last year; against France I did at the time think that was going to be it.

"But a couple of different factors convinced me to play on for another year. I'm not really that emotional a person, and so I won't allow the build-up to affect me. "Whatever emotions you do have after that will happen organically. Sure aspects will be difficult and I'll be sad, but I can't wait.

"There's always time to reflect afterwards, and that's the time to do it. The team is the absolute priority. There will be no extra emphasis made from anyone, other than an opportunity to give ourselves a final-day showdown with France."

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