Brian O’Driscoll Has A Message For All Irish Rugby Fans
Brian O’Driscoll believes Irish Rugby fans have unrealistic expectations for the national side.
The former Ireland captain believes Joe Schmidt’s men are punching way above their weight given the resources they have and the fact that rugby is nowhere near the national sport in the country.
Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball on Monday night, O’Driscoll cited an example from Paddy’s Day.
I found myself getting a bit angry on Paddy’s Day, talking about how there’s almost a perception of… Some lady met me getting on to a plane and said “Hey will you get those lads to do a bit of hard work this week?”, and there was steam coming out of my ears.
We are a nation of five and a half or six million people. It’s our fourth choice sport. And yet we’re fourth in the world. God knows what the playing numbers are in England, or in New Zealand. Australia, I think they’re still the fourth choice sport themselves, but for us to be a top seed for a pool in a World Cup in absolutely monumental.
It’s an inadvertent compliment, the stick. You’ve got to look at it that way. It’s hard to, but it absolutely is. Because now, no form of mediocrity or below par performance is acceptable.
O’Driscoll believes Ireland are not far off peaking, and that they will never be at the consistent level of New Zealand.
We’re not far off peaking out, we’re really not.
Are we ever going to be at the consistent level of New Zealand? No we’re not. I just don’t think we are. Because I don’t think fundamentally we have the groundwork done in our players. I don’t think we’ve got the depth of players, I don’t think we’ve the player numbers to be able to facilitate that level of competition and to drive the standards that high.
And unless we decide to give up our other sports, particularly Gaelic Football, and pool all those resources into rugby, I don’t think we can ever get to that point. It’s an obsessive point that they have down there. We don’t have that. We love it, but we’re not obsessed by rugby.