I remember reading this article by Will Greenwood on the plane on the way to the Heineken Cup final where he referred to Brian O’Driscoll giving Austin Healy a few digs on the 2001 Lions tour. I was thirsty for more. Happily, Keith Wood has has filled in the gaps when asked about his favourite tour tale in rugby in an interview with the Sunday Times:
“In 2001, with the Lions in Australia, it was about ten days after Ronan O’Gara had the head punched off him and Austin Healey was trying to get him to do a boxing match. O’Gara didn’t want anything to do with it so Brian O’Driscoll stepped in. ‘I’ll have a go’, he said.
Brian put the gloves on and about 20 guys formed a ring round Brian and Austin. Austin throws the first punch, a very subtle one. Brian ducks under it and smacks a full-blown upper-cut back. It was unbelievable.
Austin’s cranky as a bag of cats by now, so swings one. O’Driscoll ducks and bang he comes back. There were ten unanswered punches everyone of them full blown and beautiful. The towels were being thrown in from the guys around the edge.”
I don’t know about you but this one of the most satisfying things I have read in a long time and is simply another reason to marvel at the brilliance of O’Driscoll.
What can you say about someone that seems to have done it all? What can you say about someone who constantly outdoes themselves, and constantly sets the standards of what it is to be an all time great?
What can you say about Brian O’Driscoll that hasn’t been said already?
How do you describe a man who at 32 years of age is still one of the greatest players in the world, and still plays a vital role for both club and country?
It’s hard not to be amazed and inspired by the man and what he has achieved during his career. Handed the captaincy of his country at the age of 24, he has achieved and continues to achieve more than any Irish player has ever done. He is Ireland’s top try scorer ever, with 38 to date. He is joint 11thhighest try scorer in Rugby Union history, and also the highest scoring centre ever. He holds the Irish try scoring record in the 6 Nations with 21, and also holds the try record for an Irishman in the Heineken Cup, with 27.
He was declared captain of the Lions squad in 2005, the first Irishman since 1983. He has led Ireland to 4 Triple Crowns, a Six Nations Championship and a Grand Slam. He has won the Heineken Cup twice with Leinster, playing a pivotal role in the team’s success, and last year he voted World Rugby Player of the Decade.
Not bad. Enjoy the below tribute to the great man and excuse the music!