The former Ireland captain recalls the time he was "melted" by an opposition player

Brian O’Driscoll has recounted the story of the biggest tackle he ever faced during his stellar rugby career.

The former Ireland captain terrorised defences in his heyday with his combination of speed, footwork and power but also took a fair few knocks along the way.

Read more: How to watch the Six Nations wherever you are

And none of them were bigger than the crunching hit put on him by his opposite number during the game between Ireland and Wales in the 2014 Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium. Few will remember it as a competitive contest as the hosts completed a comfortable 26-3 victory but it remains etched into O’Driscoll’s memory.

Ahead of the same fixture at the same venue in the same tournament 10 years on, the 45-year-old was asked by ITV who hit him the hardest in his playing days and he was in no doubt.

“The biggest shot I ever took was here and it was Scott Williams of Wales, and he melted me,” O’Driscoll said. “He read the play, hit me in my sternum, my whole backside was black and blue from the impact of hitting the ground, such was the force.”

The force was so great, in fact, that Williams actually came off worse.

“He broke his collarbone and I would have broken multiple ribs if he hadn’t hit me square in the sternum,” O’Driscoll added. “Very badly winded but managed to carry on.

“I absolutely didn’t get straight back up. They were trying to get me off for an HIA and I couldn’t actually get my words out to say that I was just winded because I was so badly winded.

“I must have been down for 90 seconds until I came round and was able to tell them and as he was holding his shoulder, I said: ‘See, that’s why I can’t breathe’.

“It was ridiculous, it was the biggest bruise I’ve ever had. It was a really badly orchestrated play and a really well read defensive piece came together, collided and the repercussions were not beautiful.”


Indeed they were not. The clip was seen by Williams, who explained the extent of his own injury but said hearing O’Driscoll’s version of events made it all worthwhile.

He wrote: “Grade 4 ruptured AC joint and torn deltoid… this makes it worth it.”

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