Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll has told 'Rugby World' magazine he wants to play for another 18 months at least, and end on a high instead of letting his career ‘peter out’.
O’Driscoll led Ireland during a stirring but ultimately disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign that saw victories over Australia and Italy secured before a quarter-final defeat to Wales.
Speaking in the November issue in his first major post-RWC 2011 interview, the Ireland captain said that finishing on the right note, and proving those who criticise him wrong, was part of his motivation for the next stage of his career.
O'Driscoll is contracted to Ireland until 2013, and the Lions tour of Australia could end up being his swansong.
He said: "For me, the inspiration is about trying to be the best I can be, trying to show those who doubt me, the people who might think I'm over the hill, that I still have it.
"You want to throw in some big performances and win things and silence those critics, that's important. But you also want to try to leave some sort of legacy behind as to what kind of player you were.
"I don't want to be somebody who just petered off towards the end of his career, I want to go out on a high."
O'Driscoll also admitted that the professional game is tougher than ever, with the primacy of brawn over skill making it easier for ‘limited’ players to succeed in the professional game.
"It's a lot harder than when I was first capped. Physically, it's a different league.
"The top guys have always been of a very high standard, but professionalism has allowed players who are maybe a bit limited from a skill point of view to work hard on other aspects of their game and they can be a very, very potent force in the modern game."