Brian O’Driscoll hails Joe Schmidt’s influence
Brian O’Driscoll believes Joe Schmidt has energised the Ireland squad ahead of the Six Nations.
Schmidt left his position as Leinster head coach to take over the Ireland job in 2013 on a three-year deal, having won two Heineken Cups with Leinster in 2011 and 2012, and O’Driscoll feels the South African is already showing the talents that made him such a success in club rugby.
“He has bought a lot of his traits that we’ve seen over the years into this job,” said O’Driscoll. “That’s what got him promoted to this job.
“But like all good coaches he’s always trying to evolve, he’s a big thinker of the game.
“I don’t know anyone who would do more analysis than Joe Schmidt. He has an insatiable appetite for the game, you can see it in everything he does.”
O’Driscoll considered quitting the national team ahead of last season’s tournament, before opting to postpone his retirement until summer 2014, but the 128-capped centre is looking forward to giving his all in his final Six Nations.
“I was really unsure last year and it was strange emotions,” said the former skipper.
“It’s nice knowing you can empty the tank in this Six Nations knowing it will be the last.
“From my own point of view it’s probably a little less stressful.
“It’s probably easier to be a leader when you don’t have the captain’s armband than when you do have it, there’s less expected of you.
“And when you’re not captain I think there is an extra onus on you to make sure you are helping out and you’re sharing that workload.
“So I will always try to give Paul O’Connell a dig-out wherever I can, just take a little stress off him being the only voice.”