'Best of luck to England. They haven't won a serious competition in, I don't know how many years" 3 weeks ago

'Best of luck to England. They haven't won a serious competition in, I don't know how many years"

Straight in with the wind-up.

Sean O'Brien is heading back to Ireland for 10 days, later this week, and delighted at the prospect.

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All he can hear, wherever he goes in London, is how football is coming home.

Football fever has reached such a peak that we are having it filter into many other sports. Olympians, tennis players at Wimbledon and British & Irish Lions stars are all being asked about Gareth Southgate's men and Euro 2020.

On the latest episode of House of Rugby's Lions Series [LISTEN from 0:30 below], co-host Alex Goode simply had to start with an English football question. O'Brien was ready for it.

Sean O'Brien pictured on the House of Rugby set. (Credit: JOE)

Back in 2011, as he was helping Ireland to [yet another] World Cup quarter final, Sean O'Brien was once asked about a heroic defensive performance put in by Richard Dunne in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Russia.

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"I absolutely hate soccer!" he replied. Pressed on his dislike of the game, he added:

"I never really have liked soccer, to be honest. I played a bit when I was younger but I wouldn’t be a big fan of watching it now. I think they get paid way too much money for what they do, and they’re jumping and rolling around half the time."

A decade on and O'Brien has mellowed somewhat. He is back watching soccer again, but is no fan of folks getting carried away with themselves, and taking the whole world for the ride with them.

As the show began, Goode, who plays for Saracens and England, opened by asking, "Is it coming home, mate?"

O'BRIEN: If I hear that one again, I'll absolutely reef someone!

GOODE: Is that because you hate football? Or just you being Irish, and you hate England?

O'BRIEN: No. It's actually the thought behind the whole thing - IT'S COMING HOME! Everyone is saying it and it's pretty annoying. I'd rather just watch the football... but the best of luck to England. They haven't won a serious competition in, I don't know how many years. So, I'm hoping they do it!

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With the Aviva Premiership season over and a few weeks' break for most players not involved in the Test window, O'Brien is planning a short trip home to Ireland.

England's Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark, in Wembley, is taking place on Wednesday night. Should Southgate's charges beat the Danes to reach their first major final in 55 years, O'Brien will have timed his break away to perfection.


 

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