Brian O’Driscoll On Who Ireland’s Two Starting Centres Should Be

Midfield.

Brian O’Driscoll is without doubt the greatest centre to have ever worn an Ireland jersey and was always going to be a tough act to follow when he retired a few years back.

For a long time Ireland struggled to produce centres of international quality, with guys like Jared Payne and Keith Earls forced to slot into midfield and play out of their preferred positions.

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But in recent years Ireland have been blessed with their midfield stock. They’ve now got guys like Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose and Chris Farrell to call on. But are they perhaps a little too spoilt for choice now?

Joe Schmidt has gone with a number of different combinations in recent months, but providing everyone is fit come Japan – who does he start? Speaking to RugbyPass, O’Driscoll reckons it has to be Henshaw and Ringrose.

“The partnership for me is – if both players are fit – Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw,” O’Driscoll told RugbyPass

“It’s partly because of their understanding of playing together provincially as well. Bundee has never disappointed for Ireland, save for his game at the weekend against England.

“He will want to put that right next time he gets a chance. But for me, Robbie and Garry are the starting partnership all things being equal.”

As for Saturday’s hugely disappointing defeat to England, O’Driscoll feels people are right to react in the way they did – but feels it’s something that can be “rectified relatively quickly.”

“No (there hasn’t been an over-reaction) because it was such a disappointing performance and it comes off the back of a very disappointing performance in the final game of the Six Nations.O’Driscoll added

That said, can it be rectified relatively quickly? Yes, it can, but confidence has clearly taken a bit of a battering and we haven’t properly recovered from the England and Wales game in Six Nations and now we are going to have to do it the hard way. 

“But the reality in sport is you have the capability of turning a big deficit around in a short space of time as we have seen with the All Blacks a few weeks ago, as we have seen with a few other teams like England in the World Cup in 2007 where they got absolutely tonked by South Africa and then narrowly lost in the final to them. There is scope for this team to be able to turn it around, but it has to start this Saturday in Cardiff.”