Serge Betsen fears for France - but says Brian O'Driscoll would have made good flanker
Last Updated: 14/03/14 1:34pm
O'Driscoll and Betsen mixing it up in 2002
The man synonymous with green 13 will play his final game for Ireland on Saturday against France at the Stade de France in Paris - the venue where he first burst onto the scene in 2000.
Brian O'Driscoll has re-invented the outside centre position and but former France flanker Serge Betsen says that O'Driscoll would have fitted in perfectly on the side of the scrum.
"His work at the breakdown was exceptional and he would have made a very good loose forward."
Serge Betsen on Brian O'Driscoll
"O'Driscoll is one of the greatest players of the modern era," Betsen told skysports.com. "But I wish he would play flanker.
"He was so intense in defence and in winning the ball for his team - his work at the breakdown was exceptional and he would have made a very good loose forward.
"He is brilliant on attack and will be remembered as one of the greatest centres in world rugby. What he has achieved in rugby is incredible and I am lucky to have played a part in his journey when we used to play against each other.
"For rugby players, it is a dream and a real honour to know how you are going to finish your career. You dream that it will be a great moment and that you will finish on your terms.
"I hope the rest of the Ireland team will want to send him on his way with a win in Paris. No matter what happens we will be seeing a great player and a great man leaving the pitch and I hope it is the spectacle that he deserves."
Ireland have not won in Paris since 2000, but the state of the French team is a big concern for Betsen and he is not sure they will be able to raise to the Irish challenge.
"Ireland are playing very well and are in great form," he said.
"France are the total opposite but they are still winning! But they are playing without passion, intensity or flair, so there is a big concern.
"The big question is still what is the game plan and the strategy? We are at the last game of the Six Nations and we are still asking what France are trying to do as it just is not clear at the moment.
"Saint-Andre may be asking the players to do things that are too complicated. Rugby is not a complicated game and we should be getting the simple things right and playing a simple game with pace, intensity, passion and, of course, flair!"
The return of loose forward Louis Picamoles and hooker Dmitri Szarzewski is a plus for Betsen, although he does have concern of the latter's fitness after his ankle injury as France need their hooker to be firing on all cyclinders.
"I am happy that Picamoles is back but I want him playing No.8 rather than on the flank!" added Betsen.
"France need to play with a lot of conviction, get their scrum and lineout solid. Those are the keys to get on the front foot and to build from that.
"I have concerns for Szarzewski coming back as I am not sure how well his ankle is and we really need the hooker to be at his very best - not only to get the set pieces right but to carry the ball as well.
"We have not seen France play well at all this Six Nations and I really hope that they show us what they can do on Saturday against Ireland."
Legends Rugby ambassador Serge Betsen was launching the Legends Rugby Festival which takes place on 12th July in London. For tickets www.legendsrugby.co.uk