Rugby World Cup 2011

Wallabies drooling over BOD

2011-09-13 14:19
Brian O'Driscoll's legendary Jumper (File)

Auckland - The prospect of matching up against Irish superstar centre Brian O'Driscoll this weekend has the Wallaby contenders drooling over winning the nod for the coveted number 13 jersey.

Wing Digby Ioane's sidelining with a fractured thumb has opened up several selection options at outside centre for the Wallabies in their defining pool game against Ireland at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Anthony Faingaa or possibly James O'Connor are all in the frame to earn selection against one of world rugby's genuine stars in the inspirational Irish captain.

"I'm sure whoever gets the 13 jersey this week will be very excited to face Brian," utility back Ashley-Cooper told reporters on Tuesday.

"Because that's what you want to do. If you want to be the best you've got to compete against the best and Brian has been on top of his game for so long he's regarded as one of the best centres in the world."

The 33-year-old talismanic O'Driscoll has won two European Cups with Leinster, captained Ireland to only their second Five/Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009 and three other Triple Crowns, won a record 114 caps and last March broke the 78-year-old Five/Six Nations try record with his 25th.

He was also named as Rugby World magazine’s World Player of the decade.

"He's a superstar of the game. He's done everything, he's been around for a long time and I guess that's the sign of a true great player of this game is longevity and consistency and he's been exactly that," Wallaby scrum-half Will Genia attested.

Crash-tackling Fainga'a, who was selected at 13 in Australia's 32-6 opening win over Italy before being replaced by James O'Connor early in the second half, is hoping he will get the honour of marking his idol.

"It's going to be a fantastic opportunity if I get the chance to play against him," Fainga'a said.

"He's been one of the standout players over the last 10 years and to get that opportunity for myself at a World Cup would just be great.

"Brian directs the play and the defensive play, he's someone that I really idolise and someone who has been great for rugby.

"Brian is just the kind of guy who slips out of tackles. I've been watching footage of him over the last five years and it seems that even when you think you've got him tackled he gets out of it."

O'Driscoll may have won everything on the European rugby stage, but he is determined to set the record straight in the one tournament where he believes he and Ireland have yet to make their mark - the World Cup.

The winner of Saturday's game is likely to win win Pool C and play the runnerup of Pool D in the tournament quarter-finals.

Coach Robbie Deans will announce the Wallabies' lineup on Thursday.


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