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Ireland 46 Italy 7: 'Championship would be fitting send-off for O'Driscoll,' says Reddan

Ireland must deliver the RBS 6 Nations title to pay appropriate homage to Brian O'Driscoll's record-breaking career, according to his team-mate Eoin Reddan.

Brian O'Driscoll will earn his final cap against France on Saturday.
Brian O'Driscoll will earn his final cap against France on Saturday.

O'Driscoll, the iconic centre, will retire from international rugby after winning his 141st Test cap against France on Saturday and Ireland's seven-try hammering of Italy leaves Joe Schmidt's side almost certain to take the title if they can win in Paris.

O'Driscoll has set a Test appearance world record and will extend also his record Six Nations caps tally to 65. The 35-year-old Leinster midfielder is Ireland's leading try scorer with 46, and tops the Six Nations all-time scoring charts with 26. Despite 15 years at the pinnacle of the world game, though, O'Driscoll only has one Six Nations crown, the grand slam success of 2009. He scored a hat trick of tries to help Ireland earn their only win in Paris in 42 years, back in 2000. Now his Leinster and Ireland team-mate Reddan believes the only way to do that track record justice is to pull off another rare win on French soil.

"This win over Italy won't mean much if we don't back it up next week," said Reddan. "We already spoke about that in the dressing room after the game. It was a great occasion, but the players have to pay their respects in terms of delivering in Paris for him. It was right to have it. These moments can pass you by if you don't emphasise them.

"Now we as players have to deliver, and give him a pat on the back in a different way, and produce a huge performance in France to give him a proper and well-deserved send-off. The temptations are there for people outside the group to go over the top on a polished performance, but there's no way we're seeing ourselves as favourites over there."

Leinster prop Jack McGrath was just 10 years old when O'Driscoll ran in that breathless Paris hat trick. The 24-year-old front-rower admitted he had never seen anything like the adulation of O'Driscoll's great Dublin farewell against Italy on Saturday.

"I watched that hat-trick game at home on the TV," said McGrath. "This is a time I'll remember for the rest of my life, it's a pleasure to have been involved in a day like today. I don't think there has ever been anything like this in Irish sport."

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