Six Nations: Joe Schmidt hopes Ireland can give Brian O'Driscoll dream send-off
Last Updated: 22/01/14 4:26pm
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is hoping his team can give talismanic centre Brian O'Driscoll the perfect Six Nations send-off if it is to be the decorated Dubliner's final appearance in the tournament.
Schmidt succeeded the sacked Declan Kidney after last year's competition, which saw Ireland beat eventual champions Wales in the opener, draw at home to France and lose the rest, including to Italy in Rome.
However New Zealand-born Schmidt is hoping three home wins and a victory away against England or France will be enough to give the possibly-retiring O'Driscoll a final Six Nations Championship winners' medal.
He told Sky Sports News: "If this is his last Six Nations he'll want to make it a memorable one, as well as the players around him who have played with him for years and respect him immensely.
"I'd extend that (also) to the coaching staff, we have a lot of respect for what Brian has brought over a number of years and we're desperate that a) he'll bring it this year and other people support him and we can have success for his last five games, if that what it is to be."
The Kiwi, involved in the championship for the first time after leaving Leinster, complained about the short six-day turnaround between hosting Scotland and facing Wales in Dublin in the tournament's opening two rounds.
He said: "If we could defend the Aviva that would be great. If we manage an away victory against either England or France as well, then that would put us in the mix for a shot at being in the top two.
"That would be a fantastic achievement given where we've come from, but that's not to say that's our clear expectation.
"We know we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us. The six-day turnaround from Scotland to Wales is a really big ask.
"There's nothing we can do about that and you just have to get on with it, just like you can't control the calls of a referee.
"But it's unfortunate that we're not going to get a great run-in to a game against a great team like Wales, especially after facing a combative outfit like Scotland.
"We'll only really have one real training session that week, so we'll have to make it count."