Gatland out to ruin O’Driscoll celebration

As Irish skipper Brian O’Driscoll reaches his 100th cap for his country, the man who gave him his first appearance is looking to ruin the party.

It was Wales coach Warren Gatland who awarded O’Driscoll his first cap against Australia way back in 1999 when he was in charge of Ireland. Since then the Dubliner has gone on to become one of the world’s greatest players.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and I’m absolutely delighted for Brian. I’m very proud that I was the coach who gave him his first cap as a youngster,” admitted Gatland.

“He’s a great player, particularly in the last couple of years and deserves all the accolades.

Hopefully, I will be the first one to go up and shake his hand before the game, then standing up in the coaches’ box clapping and celebrating his achievement.

“But then I want to commiserate with him about the result after the game – that is the plan.

“Ireland have already had one player, John Hayes, earn his 100th cap in this competition and they managed to get a win then, so I think that’s possibly enough.

“It will be a special occasion, but I really want to win the game. It will be nice to do that in Dublin.”

It will be the first meeting between the two since Gatland worked with O’Driscoll on the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa last summer.

“It was an honour to be involved with Brian on the Lions tour and it was great to see how much he had developed as both a player and a leader,” added O’Driscoll.

“Brian has natural flair, a good pass off both hands, a step and fantastic pace. He would definitely be in my World XV of the last decade.

“His game did go off for a season or two but, in the last two years, he’s been back to his best. I was incredibly impressed with his leadership and understanding of the game and he looked in great physical shape.”


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