Alan Quinlan pays tribute to Brian O'Driscoll who will be playing his final home game for Ireland on Saturday
Alan Quinlan pays tribute to Brian O'Driscoll, ahead of his final home game for Ireland on Saturday.
Last Updated: 06/03/14 3:26pm
Brian O'Driscoll, who has also made eight appearances for the British and Irish Lions, will surpass George Gregan's world-record of 139 international caps against Italy this weekend, taking his Ireland total to 132.
However, celebrations will be tinged with sadness as it will also be the 35-year-old's final international match at home and he will bow out of international rugby altogether in Paris a week later.
In a career spanning over fifteen years, O'Driscoll has cemented his place in rugby history as one of the greatest players to have ever played the fifteen-man game. And former Ireland back rower Alan Quinlan says his career has been remarkable.
"It will be a huge day for him," Quinlan told Sky Sports News Radio.
"He has achieved so much in the game and will want Ireland to get the performance and get the win.
"He is a remarkable character. His obvious talents have, over the years, brought unbelievable success and he will want to finish on a high. Coming into the Six Nations, he was under a bit of pressure because his form was not what we have seen before - his line breaks and performances have been fantastic over the years but he has come down to the level of everyone else now and does not quite make the breaks.
"However his work rate, his game management and just having him in the changing room is huge for Ireland."
The 2014 Six Nations is one of the tightest in years with Ireland, England, France and defending champions Wales all in contention for the title.
Ireland are top thanks to a better points difference, though, and Quinlan says they will need to put in a real performance against Italy to strengthen their advantage and send O'Driscoll off in style.
"The distraction for Ireland this weekend against Italy is looking ahead to Paris a week later," cautioned Quinlan.
"They have made a lot of progress since November and although they had a blip against England, they are still a good Irish side.
"All the plaudits and attention will be on Brian on Saturday but they need to get the win and that is what he will be saying. It is a potential banana skin but I think Ireland can give Brian O'Driscoll a great sending off in his last home match."
Click here to listen to Alan Quinlan on Sky Sports News Radio