Brian O’Driscoll Tribute: Centre, Leader, Legend

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Brian O’Driscoll’s rugby CV is as exciting as reading a Tom Clancy novel! His career seems almost unreal. He was almost single-handedly responsible for changing the course of Irish rugby. 

If one considers his list of accomplishments and stats, it quickly becomes apparent why he is considered by many as one of, if not the most, impressive player in Irish and World Rugby history.

He was born in Dublin on 21 January 1979 and his career includes the following impressive achievements:

– He was the 4th most capped player in Union with 141 tests; 133 for Ireland (83 as captain) and 8 for the Lions. 46 tries for Ireland and 1 for The Lions made him the highest Irish try scorer.

– He was the 8th-highest overall try-scorer and the highest-scoring center of all time (yes, read that again!). He also scored the most Six Nations tries (26) and to add to his long list of accolades, he also holds the record for the most Heineken Cup tries scored by an Irish player (30).

– He was awarded the Six Nations Player of the Tournament in 2006, 2007, and 2009.

– During his High School days at Blackrock College, he was capped three times for the Ireland Schools tournament. In 1998 O’Driscoll was selected for the U19 Ireland team which won the U19 Rugby World Championship. In 1999 he made his U21 Ireland Debut.


Brian’s club career spanned an impressive 15 years, from 1999 until 2014, a tall order for a professional rugby player. Some of the key moments, achievements, and top performances include:

– A debut match for Leinster in 1999, followed by an impressive win in the Celtic League two years later in 2001.

– O’Driscoll captained the Leinster from 2005 until 2008. In 2008 Leinster won the Magners League (now URC).

– In 2009 O’Driscoll scored an intercept try and was awarded Man of the Match in the semi-final of the Heineken Cup. In the final, they won 19-16, with O’Driscoll scoring a drop goal in that game while playing with a shoulder injury.

– In 2011 O’Driscoll won his 2nd Heineken Cup, after suffering a knee injury the week prior, he helped his team come back from behind to win against Northampton with a final score of 33-22.

– In 2012, now a regular player in the Heineken Cup, he collected the Cup for a 3rd time.

– O’Driscoll played his final game for Leinster on 31 May 2014, in the 2014 Pro12 Grand Final at Leinster’s home ground. Unfortunately, O’Driscoll was injured and substituted early in the first half, however, Leinster won the game 34-12 and Brian’s final heroic act was helping the club captain lift one last trophy in front of his home crowd!

– O’Driscoll ended his club career for Leinster and amassed an insane 186 caps, scoring 311 points.


O’Driscoll’s late start in rugby didn’t keep him from stepping into the test arena and professional rugby at an early age. It wasn’t long before he habitually started stacking the stats in the typical O’Driscoll style we had all come to know and appreciate!

His continued greatness has been captured in the following summary of his rugby stats:

– He played his test debut at age 20, on 12 June 1999, against Australia. Interestingly Brian played for Ireland before he played for the senior Leinster team.

– In 2000 an O’Driscoll hat trick gave Ireland their first win in Paris since 1972. Fans soon started wearing started wearing “In BOD we Trust” t-shirts.

– In 2002 O’Driscoll was handed the captaincy of Ireland for the first time, against Australia, and they won 18-9. this was the first Irish victory against them since 1979, ironically the same year O’Driscoll was born. At age 24, O’Driscoll was handed permanent captaincy in 2003.

– Under O’Driscoll’s captaincy Ireland won the Triple Crowns in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, the first time since 1985. In 2004 he led Ireland to a 17-12 victory over South Africa, again an impressive “first”, this time since 1965.

– In 2009 Ireland won the Triple Crown and the Six Nations. The Six Nations’ victory was a Grand Slam (one team beating all the other teams), 61 years in the wait. O’Driscoll scored a try in every match except one and won the last game 17-15, where O’Driscoll also scored.

– On 15 November 2009, O’Driscoll scored a last-minute try against Australia, the match ended in a 20-20 draw.

– In 2009, he was runner-up, IRB Player of the Year after losing against Richie McCaw by one point, an award O’Driscoll won in 2001.

– On 8 March 2014 in this last international test on home ground, he contributed to 3 tries to secure an Irish victory over Italy. When he retired he was the most capped international player (141 caps).

-Brian O’Driscoll played his last international match against France, in Paris, for the 2014 Six Nations Championship, beating France in Paris for only the second time in 42 years. In an emotional post-match speech, O’Driscoll said that he could not have wished for a better ending.


One cannot give an honest review of O’Driscoll’s career without also touching on his outstanding achievements for the British and Irish Lions teams. Here, again, Brian silenced any critiques, if there ever were any, with a plethora of achievements:

– He played in all 3 games in the 2001 Australian tour, scoring an outstanding individual try in the Lions’s first victory.

– He was named captain in the 2005 tour of New Zealand but unfortunately got injured in the opening minutes of the first test. He remained on as a non-playing captain, and only received surgery after returning to Ireland.

– In 2009 he captained the Lions against the Golden Lions.

– He assisted 2 tries against the first test against South Africa but had to withdraw early due to a concussion suffered in the second test.

– In 2013 O’Driscoll was called up for his fourth British and Irish Lions tour, the third player to achieve this in 125 years!

– O’Driscoll was also selected to play for The Barbarians 3 times while scoring once.

Brian O’Driscoll’s list of rugby achievements is too many to mention in one blog post. The above list is a list that emphasizes some of his career highlights. He remains to be one of the most prestigious and decorated rugby players of all time and single-handedly placed Ireland on the world rugby map forever.

Brian O’Driscoll has been involved in various activities after his retirement from professional rugby. He has worked as a rugby pundit, providing analysis and commentary for television broadcasts. O’Driscoll has also been involved in business ventures, including ambassadorial roles and endorsements for various brands. To this day he remains to be an Irish legend and loved by many, including his opponents of yester years!

Bryan Habana Tribute: Tries, Highlights, and Running Against a Cheetah!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bryan Habana was one of the most explosive try-scoring machines to have ever played this game. His ability to accelerate away from the opposition and score game-winning tries was a hallmark of his highlight-filled career starting in the early 2000s and ending at Toulon in 2018. 

The young Bryan Habana was a talented rugby player. Born in Johannesburg, in 1983, he went on to finish his schooling at King Edward VII, popularly referred to as KES, which is one of the top sports schools in South Africa. 

After finishing his schooling, he went on to the University of Johannesburg. Playing in the Varsity Cup is often a logical next step for rugby players in South Africa with big aspirations, but things would change quickly as his rugby abilities pulled him into the sport full-time.

Bryan Habana’s club rugby career

His career started a little more quietly at the Lions, where he played from 2002-2004 when he also became a Junior Springbok. 

He then moved on to the neighbouring Blue Bulls where he played from 2005-2009. He went on to win two Super Rugby titles in 2007 and 2009 respectively and this was partly due to his brilliance!

The game-winning try in 2007 was a piece of individual brilliance that left the whole Sharks team flatfooted and gave the Pretoria-based franchise their first Super Rugby title. 

2007 was a particularly amazing year for Bryan Habana as he also helped the Springboks win their second World Cup ever. In that World Cup, he became the first player to equal the great Jonah Lomu’s 1995 record of scoring 8 tries in one World Cup tournament. 

Those tries were some of the most spectacular tries of his career! Two years later, in 2009, he also played his part in securing a series win against the British and Irish Lions. 

In that same year, he also won another Super Rugby title with the Bulls, etching his name into the history books for the Blue Bulls. This was followed by a move to their rivals, the Stormers where he played from 2010 to 2013 and featured in a losing final against the Bulls in 2010. 

Two of the things that made Bryan an exceptional player were his tremendous speed and his ability to sniff out a try. 

His amazing speed was on display when he raced a cheetah over 100m and he had a 100m time of 10.4s to his name! 

Some of his most spectacular tries however came from absolutely nowhere. He would create something from nothing with very little space to work with, would intercept and score with regularity and displayed exceptional skills with chip kicks he would run down to score spectacularly. 

Habana went on to play from 2013 to 2018 for French side Toulon where he continued his try-scoring and amassed numerous records. During his time at Toulon, he secured a Heineken Cup and Top 14 title in the 2014 tournament and another Heineken Cup in 2015.

Playing for these respective club teams he racked up 535 points from 107 tries! The blueprint for many of these was simple: get the ball in his hands and he will do the rest. 

This would always lead to another try…and another…and another…and another…

Bryan Habana’s Springbok career

He was also no slouch for the Springbok team and became their all-time record try scorer with 67 tries, totalling 335 points. 

He played for the Springboks from 2004 to 2016 and picked up a World Cup winner’s medal in 2007 equaling the try-scoring record of 8 tries in a single tournament. 

His test career started on the end-of-year tour in November 2004. He made his debut as a 21-year-old who came off the bench in a 32-16 losing effort by the Springboks. 

He managed to score a try the first time he touched the ball against the 2003 Rugby World Cup holders. This was definitely a sign of more things to come as he started piling on the tournament wins, records and awards. 

There was the World Cup win in 2007, where he scored 8 tries. In 2009 he was part of the Tri-Nations and Lions series winning teams, to go with his Super Rugby title at the Bulls.

Individual achievements being awarded World Rugby Player of the Year in 2007. In 2005, 2007 and 2012, he was also crowned SA Player of the Year. 

All of this is on his way to becoming South Africa’s all-time leading try scorer and the player who scored the 2nd most international tries ever. 

The Bryan Habana Springbok tries

Bryan Habana was able to score at will at just about any of the opposition teams he played against. The countries that he scored against fewer times were often only because he didn’t play against them a great deal. 

His favourite opponents to score against were clearly the bigger rugby nations and this is a rough breakdown of the tries he scored as a Springbok. 

He scored 6 tries against old foe England. He scored 4 tries against Scotland, France and Wales respectively. Against the big teams, he showed his class and really turned it on. He scored his most international tries against Australia with 9 in total.

Against Argentina, he scored 8 and was also able to stack up 8 tries against arch-enemy New Zealand! 

Against the smaller teams, he still managed to achieve quite a few tries. He scored one for the Springbox XV in 2014, ran in 2 against Uruguay, and 1 against Namibia.

He got a massive return of 8 tries against Samoa, 6 against Italy and 5 against the USA. He scored another 2 against Ireland and 1 against the British and Irish Lions.

In Conclusion

Bryan Habana had a spectacular rugby career and showed pure class wherever he played. He would outrun, outwit, intercept, chip, chase, and, inevitably, score.

By pure talent and focus, he became one of the deadliest try scorers to ever play the game!