Ireland scored seven tries as Dublin bid farewell to Brian O’Driscoll in what was his final Test at home. His 140th cap now makes him the most capped Test player of all time, adding to the sense of occasion for Ireland fans as their team beat Italy 46-7.
It was all about O’Driscoll, and he didn’t disappoint as the most capped individual played a big part in a number of Ireland tries. Some of his sublime handling contributed to first half tries for Andrew Trimble and Jonny Sexton, then he did it again in the second, resulting in another try for Sexton.
He went off to a rousing standing ovation with twenty minutes to go, having helped to get his side into a position whereby a win over France in Paris will all but secure a Championship winning send off for the 35-year-old Ireland rugby legend.
“I feel humbled by the reaction today. It seems a bit of of a joke that you get get man of the match for 60 minutes, but I’ve loved my time playing in this jersey. It had to come to an end at some stage and I’m glad I’m able to go out at home with a big win,” O’Driscoll said.
Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Fergus McFadden and Jack McGrath all crossed for tries too, despite Italy looking good at one stage, and having to make a record breaking 208 tackles on the day.
Ireland, England and France are all level on points at the top of the Six Nations table, but Ireland’s superior points difference could prove the difference going into the final weekend.
They face France in Paris, while England take on Italy in Rome. More Six Nations to follow soon.