Rugby

O'Driscoll extends career

2013-05-16 18:19
Brian O'Driscoll (File)
Dublin - Brian O'Driscoll ended speculation about his future by signing a new one-year deal to play on for Ireland and Leinster, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) revealed on Thursday.

However his club then announced he will miss Friday's Challenge Cup final against Stade Francais in Dublin after failing to recover from a back spasm he suffered during his side's Celtic League play-off semi-final victory over Glasgow last weekend.

"Brian O'Driscoll has failed to recover from the injury that he sustained last weekend," said Leinster on their website when announcing the team to face Stade.

The 34-year-old's absence means Fergus McFadden will partner Ian Madigan in the midfield instead.

The Ireland legend had been widely tipped to hang up his boots following the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia next month.

He did not report for the Lions' initial gathering in London three days ago, yet Leinster had been hopeful he would recover in time to face Stade.

His previous contract with the IRFU and Leinster was due to end following the Lions tour but has now been extended until June 2014.

"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," said O'Driscoll, the second most-capped player in international rugby.

New Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who was O'Driscoll's coach at Leinster before taking over from Declan Kidney, said: "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.

"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."

O'Driscoll made his senior Ireland and Leinster debuts in 1999 and has since gone on to appear 125 times for Ireland and 172 times for Leinster, scoring 46 international and 59 Leinster tries.

His six appearances for the British and Irish Lions take him up to 131 international appearances, eight behind former Australia scrum-half George Gregan.

And he will have an opportunity to add to that haul when he travels with Warren Gatland's Lions for the three-Test tour to Australia next month.

Read more on:    brian o'driscoll  |  rugby
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