Brian O’Driscoll spilled the beans at yesterday’s eir Sport launch.
The Irish legend was asked a series of questions in a quick-fire round and he didn’t disappoint with his answers.
Best player he’s ever played with: Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
“I absolutely loved playing with Isa Nacewa,” he said. “He came with a small reputation. He was one of, if not the most competitive rugby player I’ve ever played with. He would see things earlier than everyone else and, physically, he was very, very skillful. Not ridiculously quick but his ability to read play in advance was unrivalled.
“It looks as if he doesn’t do anything remarkable but he does everything very well. He’s a really good player.
“It was like a game of chess, he’d read one play ahead and it’d be a little bit of telepathy as to what they’re going to do. You would take a huge amount of satisfaction when the two of you were on the same page.”
Best player he’s ever played against: Tim Horan (Australia)
“It’s so hard, I’ve played against Lomu and McCaw and Carter. But, for me, a hero of mine growing up – and I got my first cap against him – centre for Australia, Tim Horan. He’s a two-time World Cup winner and he was an exceptional player. He played 10, 12, 13 and he played full back – he just had the full skill set.
“I played against him as a kid in the winter of his career and I got schooled by him a few times. It’s nearly nice when your heroes prove that they should be on that mantle.”
The worst player to tour with: Gavin Henson (British and Irish Lions)
“I roomed with Gavin Henson in 2005…
“On the morning of a game, if you didn’t get into the bathroom for a whizz before him, you’d have to wait three hours. There was shaving of legs, there was fake tan, it was heavy on the moisturiser and heavy on the hair gel. He felt that, if he looked good, he played good and… sometimes it worked. Other times, questionable.”
Rugby’s biggest cheat: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
“Every seven in the world!
“Richie obviously got lots of stick in his 148 test matches but it says an awful lot that I think he was only sin-binned once in that. He really pushed the boundaries.
“I think it worked in his favour that he was captain for such a long time – it was a very smart play having the New Zealand captain as their open-side because he’s most likely to be their biggest cheat. But Richie knew how to just play on that line.
“I always enjoyed playing against him because you knew you had to play your best game.”