Coming from a rugby family (his father and cousins played for Ireland), even though he played Gaelic Football as a youngster, there was never any doubt that Brian O’Driscoll would continue the tradition. After graduating from University College Dublin, his talent was already well known and amazingly he made his international debut for Ireland before his club debut for Leinster in 1999. O’Driscoll never left Leinster and across his 15 year career, played 186 games for the club, winning three Heineken Cups.
In 2000, O’Driscoll made his mark on the international stage, scoring a hat-trick of tries in Six Nations victory over France – Ireland’s first win in Paris since 1972. This gave him cult status amongst the Irish fans and he was a popular choice when he took over the nation’s captaincy from the retiring Keith Wood.
He went on to lead Ireland in a successful period when they won the Six Nations twice in 2009, when he was named player of the tournament and 2014. He scored 26 tries in the Six Nations and was player of the tournament a total of three times. In January 2010, he was voted World Rugby Player of the Decade by the magazine Rugby World.
O’Driscoll retired after the 2014 Six Nations and went on to be a successful and well-respected media pundit. He became a member of the Laureus Academy in 2016.