IRELAND rugby star Brian O’Driscoll has confirmed that he will be retiring from professional rugby at the end of this season.
Talking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk yesterday, the rugby legend said that it was Ireland’s new coach Joe Schmidt and Leinster’s fans who convinced him to continue playing for Leinster and Ireland until next year.
“This is the ‘one more year’, I had to think long and hard (about this season) there were a number of factors. I had to talk to Amy and listen to my body, I had to learn if I was still wanted in the Leinster setup and the Irish setup,” he said.
“It would be rude of me not to mention the chants from the stands in the RDS of ‘one more year’, the fact that you’re still wanted by the faithful does mean an awful lot too.”
The 34-year-old has enjoyed a tremendous career, captaining the Irish rugby team for nine years until 2012 and being voted as Rugby World Magazine’s World Player of the decade in 2010, but the last year has been filled with speculation of his retirement.
“I’ve been a professional rugby player all my life, I don’t really know anything different.
“I don’t really know the big bad world that regular people see and I have been in the process, over the last couple of years, of getting involved in things I’m interested in but nothing will replace the feeling of running out on the pitch but something that makes you get up in the morning and have purpose,” he said.
O’Driscoll may only have one year of his professional career remaining, but he still has ambitions that he would fulfilled in the 2013/2014 season, both with Leinster and Ireland.
“You want to win everything you are in. It would be lovely to win a Championship and a Six Nations and the Heineken Cup. I’m lucky to have won some things in the latter part of my career and most recently a Lions series so it’s nice to tick some boxes,” he added.
“A big one this year to get myself in shape for and get in the process of being selected is the All-Blacks in November. That’s one that’s failed on multiple occasions and this is the last chance to get a go at them so that would be a lovely one if I was to pick one out for the year.”
He also speaks about his wife, actress Amy Huberman, and adjusting to life with the couple’s first child Sadie.
“I can’t really remember what my old life was like but it’s absolutely brilliant.
“I don’t know how many times over the last six months she might have you up during the night but that smile in the morning when you come in makes it all go away.”
Future plans for the family may see them travel worldwide to allow Amy to achieve greater success as an actress.
He said, “I’m absolutely open to her career bringing us to whatever part of the globe it might do although I know she is enjoying a bit of time off with the arrival of Sadie.”