Irish hero and full-time joker, Brian O’Driscoll took some time out to chat pitch talk, impatience and having first dibs on the newspaper.
RUGBY WORLD: Do you ever play any practical jokes?
BRIAN O’DRISCOLL: Not practical jokes as such but general banter and keeping people on their toes. I always keep the young guys in check. I remember taking crap when I was a young guy ten-odd years ago. I don’t make life harder for them, I just make sure they have menial tasks to do, like cleaning buses or team rooms.
RW: Apparently you take the mickey out of Gordon D’Arcy a lot?
BOD: He’s too easy to get. I don’t even need to bring my own material, he provides it for me. We’ve been playing together for ten years so it started quite a while ago and I only have to say something and he pulls a redener!
RW: Who are Ireland’s jokers?
BOD: John Fogarty is quite a messer, Tomás O’Leary and Donncha O’Callaghan. You have to watch yourself with Donncha, but as a senior player you get left alone a bit more. It’s more the management – Paddy (O’Reilly), our bag man, always gets a hard time.
RW: Has Donncha ever caught you out?
BOD: Donners is married to my cousin, and I grew up playing schools rugby and U20s rugby with him, so we have a bit of a rapport.
RW: What’s your favourite joke?
BOD: A lot of my jokes are dirty. I came up with a joke myself, which I’m quite happy with. What do you call a flatulent boxer? Gassius Clay!
Superman, Traffic and life after rugby…
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard on the pitch?
BOD: I didn’t hear it myself but it was in a game I was playing in one New Year’s Eve. Mal O’Kelly was at the bottom of a ruck and Neil Best, who was playing for Ulster then, asked him, “What did your mum get you for Christmas?!”
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
BOD: To fly. It would be cool, you could go wherever you wanted. Superman seemed to have it easy.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
BOD: My friend Ciaran Scally. We were in the same year at school together and he played for Ireland before me but had to retire because of a bad knee injury. He always entertains me and makes me laugh.
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
BOD: Bruce Springsteen. Peter Kay – I’ve never said that before, but it’s just this second come to me; it’s a given that you’d be laughing. So we’ve got entertainment and laugher. And Jessica Alba for good measure.
RW: Do you have any bugbears?
BOD: I have one: when you get a newspaper, put it down for a second and someone else picks it up. I like to be the first to read a newspaper, even if I only flick through it for 30 seconds; I like looking at it when it’s fresh. It’s like when you pick up a newspaper out of the bundle; you never take the top one, you go two or three deep so it’s nice and crisp. On the Leinster bus once, Mal O’Kelly picked up my copy of The Irish Times so I had a s*** fit. The boys gave me a hard time for that. I’m also not great in traffic. I don’t mind driving the long way if I’m still going; once you’re travelling it’s okay, but just sitting there is so frustrating.
RW: Any phobias?
BOD: I wouldn’t be mad on being stuck in an MRI machine but other than that not really.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
BOD: Hopefully to be a success at whatever I do afterwards, be that life in general or in business. I’d like to be relatively successful. It would be difficult to do something menial, that didn’t give me the appetite for getting up every day. I’d like to continue having ambition ultimately.
RW: How would you like to be remembered?
BOD: As easy to get along with and someone who is definitely loyal.
Doing what he does best…
Learn more about Brian’s teammates at Leinster…Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.