O'Driscoll focused on Six Nations

Brian O'Driscoll's primary foucs is on his rugby

Brian O'Driscoll's primary foucs is on his rugby

First published in National Sport News © by

Brian O'Driscoll has postponed all decisions about life after rugby until he retires at the end of the season.

Ireland's stalwart centre is desperate to get on with life after the British and Irish Lions, though, and certainly the furore over being dropped by head coach Warren Gatland on last year's tour Down Under.

Ireland open their RBS 6 Nations campaign by hosting Scotland in Dublin on Sunday before taking on Wales six days later.

Wales boss Gatland was pilloried for dropping O'Driscoll for the Lions' final Test in Australia before a 41-16 landslide victory to claim the series offered vindication.

The row has rumbled on, though, with Gatland admitting last week he jokingly asked O'Driscoll to influence the Aviva Stadium crowd not to boo him.

O'Driscoll remains unsure about a career in coaching but is quite clear he has no interest in any lingering Lions pantomime.

"What happened, happened, no one can change it," said the 35-year-old. "I don't have any ill-will towards Warren.

"When it was raw afterwards your emotions are a bit different. Time does heal all wounds and I don't have any animosity towards him.

"What I will look towards is just trying to be involved in a team that can potentially beat his team, but that's next week.

"The coaching thing at the moment doesn't really float my boat.

"Before Christmas I started thinking too much about the afterlife. There's no rush.

"I'll just enjoy the Six Nations and hopefully the knock-out parts of the Heineken Cup.

"Hopefully I can try to win some silverware, and once the season's done and dusted and the boots are finally hung up, there will be plenty of time to think about what the next plan is.

"I don't want to look back in a year's time and regret not having given this time everything. That's why I'm focusing solely on rugby and all other thoughts are on the backburner."

Hailing boss Joe Schmidt as crucial to Ireland's chances of a successful Six Nations, O'Driscoll admitted it is important the country develop home-grown frontline coaches, even if he does not eventually number among them.

Lock Leo Cullen will step into the Leinster backroom next season, with O'Driscoll backing the former Ireland enforcer to flourish.

"I think Joe's brought 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.

"We have strict timelines to how long we spend on the park. You've got that time to get it right, so get it right.

"That mentality switches into the players very quickly.

"I think it's important we get some Irish coaches, we have some great thinkers in the game, and Leo Cullen's definitely one of them.

"Physically he might not be in the condition he was a few years ago, but because he's so smart and such a clever player, he identifies short cuts, and I think he'll have an awful lot to offer from a coaching perspective."

O'Driscoll wrestled with retirement this time last season and decided against it.

Reaffirming his commitment to quit in the summer come what may, the 128-cap centre revealed no torment over his future has cleared his mind for the tournament ahead.

"I was really unsure last year and it was strange emotions," said the former Ireland 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."

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