Rugby

Sunday Times Journalists Rank O'Driscoll As Second Greatest Centre Ever

Sunday Times Journalists Rank O'Driscoll As Second Greatest Centre Ever

Brian O'Driscoll was at the forefront of changing the fortunes of both Leinster and Irish rugby at the turn of the century.

By the time he hung up his boots in 2014, he had won two Six Nations, four Triple Crowns, four league titles at provincial level, three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup, been on four Lions tours, and be a three times the Six Nations Player of the Year.

Not a bad CV so.

Having been one of the most decorated centres of the modern era, it is unsurprising that O'Driscoll is consistently mentioned as one of the best to ever play in that position.

In this week's Sunday Times, Stuart Barnes and Stephen Jones both ranked their top ten centres of all-time, with both putting the Irishman in second place. There was some disagreement over the top position, however.

Barnes selected Australian legend Tim Horan in first position, a player who O'Driscoll admits is one of his favourite of all time.

Horan didn't even crack the top ten on Jones' list, one which includes Gavin Henson at tenth, with England's Jeremy Guscott instead taking the top spot.

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When it came to O'Driscoll, Barnes said the former Ireland captain was one of the most well-rounded players to play in the centre:

The hat-trick of tries against France in Paris when Ireland were not supposed to win there was the shape of things to come. Slightly stooped, searching for the gap, he was a sensation from the earliest of his days.

His partnership with Gordon D’Arcy was the best breakdown combination to come out of the centre, while Joe Schmidt had him working on his passing and kicking skills until he was as good as they could be. Oh, and he knew how and when to score a crucial try.

Meanwhile, noted Ireland supporter Jones believed few could match his competitiveness:

His work-rate alone was phenomenal, he could pounce for tries either on wide arcs or even driving up the middle of rucks. A talisman of major proportions for Irish rugby and for Ireland, possibly at the peak on the 2001 Lions tour but incredibly consistent way past his 100th cap.

The competitor’s competitor.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Sound Man Brian O'Driscoll Calls Leinster Fan To Talk Rugby

Gary Connaughton

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