It has been a turbulent time for the former Irish Rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll, and today he announced there is a strong possibility this will be his final Six Nations campaign.
O’Driscoll recently lost the captaincy to Naas man Jamie Heaslip, but has been restored to his role at centre for Saturday’s opener against Wales in Cardiff after missing the autumn internationals because of an ankle injury.
It is known that O’Driscoll’s contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union expires at the end of the season and he said that his fitness and well-being will decide his future with Ireland.
The Leinster man has been influential in Irish rugby for many years and holds the Irish record for the number of tries score at international level with a tally of 45 tries scored. He is also Ireland’s second most-capped player behind Ronan O’Gara with 120 Test appearances.
“There’s a strong possibility it could be my last,” O’Driscoll told BBC Sport.
“There’s every chance it’s my last Six Nations, but I haven’t really allowed myself to start thinking about finishing.
“If you start thinking about it too early, you’ve one foot into retirement already. I’m contracted until the summer and I’ll see how my body feels.”
The Lions tour in the summer will also be a major factor in determining the 34 year olds decision. O’Driscoll if cementing his place in the British and Irish Lions team along with having a strong Six Nations campaign he could be propelled in to the running for captaincy of the tour.
It was a post he filled in New Zealand in 2005, although he only played less than a minute of the opening Test after a spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu resulted in a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the series.
It will not be until after the campaign the captain’s role for the tour will be decided, but O’Driscoll is a strong contender.
“It would be an honour that would be too big to pass up again. I got to do it once, albeit for only 25 seconds of a Test match, so it would be nice to get another opportunity,” he said.
“But first I’ve got to get into a position to get myself on the tour and deserve my spot.”