Six Nations win would be fitting farewell for Brian O'Driscoll, says Lewis Moody

Last Updated: 19/03/14 1:02pm

O'Driscoll: Bows out against France on Saturday

Brian O'Driscoll deserves a fairytale ending to his remarkable international career, Lewis Moody told What's The Story?

The Ireland centre will make his 141st and final international appearance in France on Saturday and, with the Six Nations title within his side's grasp, Moody says it would be a fitting tribute to the 35-year-old should they clinch the crown.

"He's been the guiding light for Irish rugby for many years."

Lewis Moody

Considered by many to be one of the finest centres of all time, O'Driscoll, who has three Heineken Cups and three Celtic League titles to his name from his glittering club career, skippered Ireland to Six Nations Grand Slam glory in 2009.

However, Moody warned everything may not go according to plan this weekend, with France and England still in the hunt for this year's Six Nations.

"I hope he gets the fairytale ending," said Moody. "If anyone is worthy of the fairytale ending it's Brian - but in sport there really isn't such a thing.

"I played in Martin Johnson's last professional game, Leicester v Wasps in the Premiership Final, and we all wanted to go out and win it for the skipper.

"We'd been playing under him for years and he was a legend - but sadly Lawrence Dallaglio and his Wasps side ruined our day.

"I remember sitting in the changing room devastated because we'd lost and devastated for him.

"I'd love to see Brian go out on a high with 141 caps, though - which is unbelievable in itself."

Character

O'Driscoll was controversially dropped by British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland for the decisive test with Australia last summer.

However, Moody says O'Driscoll's response to the disappointment of missing out on the historic win demonstrates his admirable character.

"He's a world class player," said Moody.

"When he got dropped for the final test, which would have been his first Lions winning tour - it was only the fifth in the history of the Lions anyway - how he dealt with that was a great example of the bloke that he is.

"He's been the guiding light for Irish rugby for many years."

O'Driscoll will call time on his club career at the end of the current season, as well - and Moody says the Irishman, like all retiring pros, will face the daunting challenge of adapting to life away from the field.

"I'm two years retired and I miss it massively," he said.

"I spent a year denying the fact I missed playing. I watch the games now and I'd love to still be able to play and that transition is a tricky one."

Click here to download the What's The Story? podcast to hear the panel discuss the difficulties in adapting to life after retiring from professional sport.