Brian O'Driscoll was treated a little differently to his Ireland teammates whenever they stayed at hotels
No wonder he played so many games for Ireland....
Brian O'Driscoll once had to muck in with the rest of them but that all changed from around 2003 onward.
O'Driscoll and Ireland teammate Ronan O'Gara had what Donncha O'Callaghan once described as 'certain privileges that nobody else had' in the Ireland squad. One of them was getting kitman Rala O'Reilly to do all of their laundry. O'Callaghan remarked.
"Everyone else had to have their laundry down by 3 o'clock or 5 o'clock and it was just thrown out and you had to find your socks. Not for Drico, not for ROG.
"Down the Yellow Brick Road, perfectly folded, hanging up in their rooms. When I started rooming with ROG it was, 'Throw that down the Yellow Brick Road as well'."
The pair were also the best paid of their generation and they often shared contract offers just so one wasn't getting taken for a ride. O'Gara told us:
"I knew what he was getting so I'd put a figure in my head. I'd do the negotiating myself and say, 'This is it'."
On the latest episode of The Hard Yards rugby podcast, former Ireland internationals Stephen Ferris and Kevin McLaughlin [from 5:20] shared some more classic O'Driscoll tales.
Ferris recalls meeting O'Driscoll for the first time at Ireland's old training camp at Killiney Castle, in 2006, as he was talking to team masseuse Willie Bennett. He said:
"Drico always parked his car not in the main car park but outside the team room because... he could do that.
"So he hops out of his car and he comes in through the fire escape. He doesn't come through the normal door, it's the fire escape.
"He comes over and he's talking to a few people and I went over and caught his eye. He goes, 'Brian'. Ah right, so I go, 'Stevie, nice to meet you'."
Straight away, Ferris admits, he doubted himself and was asking himself if he was good enough to be in the presence of O'Driscoll, O'Gara and co. It was not until he settled into the squad and played a few games in a row until he got that Ferris swagger back.
As for Ferris or McLaughlin rooming with the established stars, no chance. O'Gara was locked in to a long-term deal with Munster teammate Donncha O'Callaghan while O'Driscoll, more often than not, got his own room.
Life of Reilly? Life of BOD.
Episode 29 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features Ronan O'Gara, Mike McCarthy, James Downey and Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale.
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