BRIAN O’DRISCOLL SHONE in his first outing since the British and Irish Lions’ Second Test defeat to Australia in Melbourne.
The outside centre, playing in his final season [he swears] at the province, put in an ageless display as he cut through the Cardiff Blues defence like a sabre. He showed soft hands, and great awareness, to tee up Sean Cronin’s opening try in the 34 — 20 victory and made three stunning line breaks.
The 34-year-old had the home crowd on their feet on numerous occasions and was able to enjoy the final minutes of the bonus point win on the sidelines, clenching his fist as Ian Madigan dived over for try number four.
The highlight of O’Driscoll’s night was a burst from inside his own half and a delightfully floated pass to Rob Kearney. Cardiff’s Rhys Patchell grappled Kearney to the ground and first on the scene, as makeshift scrumhalf, was O’Driscoll. The move came to nothing after an over-zealous touch judge threw his oar in to award a defensive lineout. O’Driscoll was given a rapturous applause as Brendan Macken replaced him with seven minutes to go.
“He was brilliant.” Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor told TheScore.ie. ”Some of his touches were sublime. He has certainly [proved] all of those people that thought he might not have been as valuable as he has previously been wrong.”
Here are some of O’Driscoll’s best moments:
YouTube credit: RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster have two league wins, a draw and a loss from their opening four fixtures and an away date with Munster next on the agenda. O’Connor called the 14-point win ‘the best brand of rugby’ Leinster have played all season.
He added, “Scarlets was satisfying and elements of Ospreys were satisfying but, to play the way we played, I was disappointed with the first half in the sense that we left three or four tries out there and left Cardiff in the contest.”