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04th Sep 2023

Brian O’Driscoll admits the one player he secretly wants in the Ireland team

Rory Fleming

Brian O'Driscoll

O’Driscoll made the admission as he set out his Rugby World Cup predictions.

After four long years, the Rugby World Cup is finally upon us once again, with this cycle’s tournament set to get underway on Friday night in Paris, as the French host the All Blacks in a mouthwatering curtain raiser.

Ireland will kick off their quest to end their Quarter Final hoodoo the following day, meeting Romania in Bordeaux, with former Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll giving his World Cup predictions ahead of the game.

In an interview with Radio Times, the Leinster legend stated that he believes Ireland have the quality to go all the way, in what he describes as a “huge opportunity” to claim the Webb Ellis Cup.

However, despite his boarding of the Irish hype train, O’Driscoll did admit to holding some reservations given the difficult nature of Ireland’s potential route to a World Cup Final, saying;

“Watching Scotland a few weeks ago I thought, ‘My God, is there a chance we don’t?’ We have to think we’re going to reach the quarter-finals, although those words could come back to ruin me. Then we could face either New Zealand or France — it couldn’t be much tougher.”

There were no surprises when Ireland’s record caps holder revealed who he thought Ireland’s most important players would be, as he singled out the Leinster half-back pairing of Johnny Sexton and Jamison Gibson-Park for particular praise.

“That’s a photo finish between Johnny Sexton and Jamison Gibson-Park. The speed and tempo of that half-back partnership are vital,” he said.

Brian O'DriscollO’Driscoll has named France scrum-half Antoine Dupont as the one player he’d love to see line out in an Ireland shirt. (Credit: Getty Images)

Brian O’Driscoll admits the one player he’d love to see in an Irish shirt:

When asked who he would secretly love to have in the Irish team heading into this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, O’Driscoll was unequivocal in his response, stating;

“France’s Antoine Dupont is in a different sphere to everyone else.”

O’Driscoll went on to discuss who he saw as potential underdogs alongside who he thought could be the rising star of this World Cup.

Naming Fiji as his ones to watch, O’Driscoll said, “Fiji are a risk to Wales and Australia in Pool C. The only time in the four-year cycle that Fiji share a big pre-season together is before the World Cup… I’m interested to see the teams with players who have converted back to the Pacific country of their birth or ancestry.”

It was an Irishman who got his nod for rising star though, with O’Driscoll remarking;

“Ireland’s Caelan Doris is the perfect fit as a No.8 for what they’re trying to do.”

Should Ireland not go on to ultimately win the tournament, the four-time British and Irish Lion settled on the All Blacks as his most likely alternative winner, stating the he was enjoying the quiet nature of their build-up and that they would become “a real handful” as the tournament progressed.

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