BRIAN O’DRISCOLL AND the rest of the Ireland squad are, of course, making a big effort to play it down, but tomorrow will be a very special occasion at the Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road.
Against Italy, Ireland’s greatest ever player will win his 132nd Ireland cap, his last on home soil, his last chance to add to this list of our favourite O’Driscoll tries on home ground.
1. Ireland v USA, 1999
The first cut onto the international scoresheet was not necessarily the deepest, but it was a sign of things to come.
Just be a bit more wary of that dead ball line, young BOD.
2. v Scotland, 2002
We wouldn’t normally include an intercept try, but this gorgeous pick-up deep in his own half was followed by a great example of the raw speed that helped O’Driscoll make his name. This try completed his second hat-trick for Ireland.
3. v Wales, 2004
The first step towards Ireland’s most cherished Triple Crown, here O’Driscoll comes up in support of Keith Gleeson and shows off that brilliant knack of always wriggling the ball free enough to dot it down rather than allow himself get held up.
4. v Italy, 2004
Dummies, dummies everywhere. Not to mention a clinical, scything line through the blindside of the Italian defence.
5. v England, 2005
We still get nervous watching him dot the ball down after scampering down the touchline from a sweeping wide move, but we forgive him because, well, where would we be without him?
6. v France, 2005
That same year, O’Driscoll got himself in space and produces a step to foreshadow his Grand Slam-year score against the same opponent.
7. v France, 2009
Speaking of which…
8. v New Zealand, 2010
We mentioned his brilliant ball-handling skills to pick up a loose ball cleanly against Scotland, but the best example of this came against the All Blacks, 12 months before they won the World Cup.
This was O’Driscoll’s first international try at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road.
9. v England, 2011
Later that season, he would poach another opportunistic try as Ireland tore into an England side chasing a Grand Slam. He has not scored on home soil since.
10. v England, 2009
Okay, so this one is nothing pretty, but has he scored a more important try than this one?
(Maybe this one, but that’s for next week).
Have we left out your own personal favourite? Let us know in the comments section below.