BO’D Battered Austin Healy

by Tom Fox

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!

7 Responses

  1. I Claudius says:

    Indeed it is hard to praise BOD more than he has been praised already, so why bother? Why not consider some potential faults?

    1. It’s not hard to be ever present in the Irish midfield when there’s no competition for your place. How many tries would he have scored if he was from the same country as Mauger, Umaga, Mcallister, Nonu or Williams?

    2. If he’s such a great leader, what was he doing in 2007 when we were humiliating ourselves in the world cup? And why was happy just to put in a good 40 minutes against England in this year’s 6 Nations? If we had played like throughout we would have won the competition, but no mention of the from BOD. Even worse; after the match BOD was still talking about 2009!

    3. After the Heineken cup final in 2009, why was he so eager to make pointed comments direrected at Neil Francis? (does his publicist make him read all his press?) He seems to expect the press only to praise him.

    Instead of patting Him on the back and telling him how great He is (which is what EOS did to the “15″ in 2007) why not demand more from him? Ireland have won only one 6 Nations under his leadership and have had a disastrous world cup. I think BOD, and the Irish team, owe us.

    But then again, we’re just a bunch of “poor paddies”! We don’t expect to win anything. As long as we put in a good performance against the big teams, we’ll be happy.

  2. ROGby says:

    What tribute??!

  3. Tom Fox says:

    Sorry, tribute there now!

    I Claudius – Don’t agree on any level!

  4. Barts says:

    Tom, great site – but Des is rubbish. His spelling’s cack and he told me he prefers soccerball.

    IClaudius – He’d probably have more. D’Arcy has shown glimpses of his 2004 form but he’s never really recaptured it. Henderson’s best performances were on the Lions tour to Oz and Maggs, while very effective, could hardly be considered in the same class as Mauger or the rest.

    As for the Francis thing, this article has the relevant quotes (both Francis and BO’D) :

    http://blogs.reuters.com/sport/2009/05/25/leinster-lay-unwanted-reputation-to-rest/

    I think BO’D’s response was fairly measured all things considered.

    I reckon he (and the rest of them) owe us nowt. A few of them may feel they owe it to themselves to preform on the biggest stage available, but I think accusations that they are happy to play here and there are well off the mark.

  5. Rory Fleming says:

    Firstly BOD is 34 and secondly he has won 3 Heineken cups, very poorly researched pieced.

  6. Neil Sherwin says:

    Considering the article is from two years ago, it’s correct at the time of writing.

    Very poor date research Rory.

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