Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll has revealed he was tempted by a move to the Southern Hemisphere to play for a Super Rugby side before committing his future to Leinster at the start of the season.
It was only in February that the Ireland captain penned a deal that kept him with the Irish side until 2013, and now the 32-year-old has said he was “tempted” by the opportunity to play for an Australian club, with whom he had contact with before deciding to stay with Leinster.
“I was tempted by one season of Super 15. That would’ve been interesting and I had spoken to one person about it in Australia,” the Ireland captain told The Guardian.
“I definitely thought that would be an opportunity but different variables in life shape your decision-making. I have a wife (the actor Amy Huberman) with her own profession that I have to consider.
“On top of that we’ve built something special at Leinster and that was a big component in my re-signing. In the end it was a bit of a no-brainer.” He added.
O’Driscoll’s loyalty to the club appears to have paid off, with a semi-final against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-final on Saturday their reward for a so far impressive season.
And the Irish veteran showed his commitment to the cause even further by turning down the hottest ticket in town – an invitation to the Royal wedding at Westminster Abbey on Friday – in order to continue his preparation for the game against the French side.
With Prince William marrying Kate Middelton on Friday afternoon, O’Driscoll has passed up an opportunity to take part in the historic occasion in order to complete his captain’s duties with his club.
“I have a captain’s run on Friday and as big an honour as it was to be invited, I can’t ask for team runs to be at half-six in the evening so I can go to the wedding. The team ethos comes first, even after 12 years,” he said.
“I know William and he’s a nice, chatty, normal guy. On a conversational level with him and (Prince) Harry, it’s extremely normal. The rest of their life is abnormal – for want of a better word. But Amy’s going as we felt there was an element of our representing Ireland as well.”
“It’s going to be an incredible thing, with two billion watching, but I’ll be at home, preparing for Toulouse.”
O’Driscoll will hope his dedication to the cause will pay off after being on the losing side in three Heineken Cup rugby semi-finals, including a defeat at the hands of their opponents on Saturday at the same stage last year.
He will have taken little confidence from the latest sports bets placed however, which weigh heavily in the Top 14 side’s favour, but insists they can take get their own back for coming off worse in recent encounters.
“Let’s just say it’s an opportunity for a huge performance – and a chance to get some revenge over Toulouse and to make another European final. That’s more than enough to keep the mind focused this week.” He commented.
Leinster are sports betting underdogs to add to their solitary Heineken Cup victory in 2008 despite beating Toulouse that year, and face a tough task if they are to get past a Toulouse side that have won the competition four times since 1996.
Click here for the Heineken Cup Fixtures for 2011/2012.