/ Six Nations 2014

Brian O'Driscoll hails Joe Schmidt as crucial to success for Ireland in the upcoming Six Nations

Updated: Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 08:12 | Comments

Brian O'Driscoll: 'It's nice knowing you can empty the tank in this Six Nations knowing it will be the last'
Brian O'Driscoll: 'It's nice knowing you can empty the tank in this Six Nations knowing it will be the last'

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Brian O'Driscoll has hailed boss Joe Schmidt as crucial to Ireland's chances of a successful Six Nations.

And the Ireland centre will not look beyond this campaign as he has postponed all decisions about life after rugby until he retires at the end of the season.

O'Driscoll also admitted it is important that the IRFU develop home-grown frontline coaches, even if he does not eventually number among them.

Lock Leo Cullen will step into the Leinster backroom next season, with O'Driscoll backing the former Ireland enforcer to flourish.

"I think Joe's brought a lot of his traits that we've seen over the years into this job," said O'Driscoll. "That's what got him promoted to this job.

"But like all good coaches he's always trying to evolve, he's a big thinker of the game.

"I don't know anyone who would do more analysis than Joe Schmidt. He has an insatiable appetite for the game, you can see it in everything he does.

"I don't know anyone who would do more analysis than Joe Schmidt. He has an insatiable appetite for the game, you can see it in everything he does." - O'Driscoll

"We have strict timelines to how long we spend on the park. You've got that time to get it right, so get it right.

"That mentality switches into the players very quickly.

"I think it's important we get some Irish coaches, we have some great thinkers in the game, and Leo Cullen's definitely one of them.

"Physically he might not be in the condition he was a few years ago, but because he's so smart and such a clever player, he identifies short cuts, and I think he'll have an awful lot to offer from a coaching perspective."

O'Driscoll wrestled with retirement this time last season and decided against it.

Reaffirming his commitment to quit in the summer come what may, the 128-cap centre revealed no torment over his future has cleared his mind for the tournament ahead.

"I was really unsure last year and it was strange emotions," said the former skipper.

"It's nice knowing you can empty the tank in this Six Nations knowing it will be the last.

"From my own point of view it's probably a little less stressful.

"It's probably easier to be a leader when you don't have the captain's armband than when you do have it, there's less expected of you.

"And when you're not captain I think there is an extra onus on you to make sure you are helping out and you're sharing that workload.

"So I will always try to give Paul O'Connell a dig-out wherever I can, just take a little stress off him being the only voice."

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