Brian Oâ€™Driscoll has signed a new one-year contract extension with the IRFU meaning that he will be available for both Ireland and Leinster until June 2014.
In a week that has seen the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes, and now David Beckham, Oâ€™Driscoll has very much bucked the trend by opting to extend his career, particularly as many expected him to retire this summer.
Expectation of his retirement had been heightened by the tears of his wife Amy Huberman following Irelandâ€™s draw with France in the Six Nations, prompting many to assume that they were tears for his final appearance at the Aviva.
In his stamen to announce his extension it was clear that family concerns had been the major reason for him delaying his decision:
“I want to thank the IRFU and Leinster for allowing me the time to think about my future and discuss my options with my family.â€
“The support my family and the Irish and Leinster fans have shown me over the past few months, and indeed years, has been phenomenal and I am now very much looking forward to one more year playing with Ireland and Leinster.”
The IRFUâ€™s decision to appoint Leinster Head Coach Joe Schmidt as the new Ireland boss is thought to have been a big factor behind Oâ€™Driscollâ€™s decision to extend his contract and the incoming Ireland Coach had this to say:
“It’s great that Brian has agreed to continue playing. He’s an inspirational player, not only on the pitch, but also on the training ground.â€
“He’s played well again this season and other players continue to learn from him. I know that every squad of which he is a part will profit from his qualities both as a rugby player and a person.”
Oâ€™Driscoll has appeared 125 times for Ireland, scoring 46 tries, he has also made a further six Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions.
This summer Oâ€™Driscoll will embark on his fourth Lions Tour, becoming only the third player to do so, and is looking for his first ever Lions Series victory have narrowly missed out to Australia in 2001 and South Africa in 2009, and missing the whole 2005 series after being injured in the opening minute of the first Test against New Zealand.
Many had thought that a Lions series victory was his final ambition and that he would retire after this series but it seems that there is life in the old dog yet!Â