Ireland 28 Scotland 6: 'Brian Button' praised for incredible defense by coach Joe Schmidt as Brian O'Driscoll rolls back the years once more

O'Driscoll led the tackle count in the Six Nations opening victory over Scotland in what will be his final campaign

Brian O'Driscoll's ageless defensive exuberance remains a cornerstone of Ireland's RBS Six Nations power, according to head coach Joe Schmidt.

The former Ireland and British Lions captain's tireless rearguard efforts left him topping the tackle charts for Schmidt's men in Sunday's comfortable 28-6 Scotland dismantling.

Stand-in captain Jamie Heaslip and Schmidt joked O'Driscoll could almost be starting to age in reverse, just like literary character Benjamin Button.

O'Driscoll set a new Ireland all-time caps record of 129 in Sunday's triumph, but the 35-year-old will retire at the end of the season after a glittering career.

Ireland take on reigning champions Wales in Dublin on Saturday, battling against a six-day turnaround and the sheer brute force of Warren Gatland's experienced side.

Former New Zealand schoolteacher Schmidt admitted he will quite happily urge talismanic midfielder O'Driscoll to keep rolling back the years for his final Six Nations.

"If he can hit 24 next week I think we'll get the perfect blend; he's Brian Button now," Schmidt laughed.

"Brian got through his defensive workload pretty effectively, and we knew he would have to.

"He had [Scotland number eight] David Denton coming round the corner, who was a real threat for them.

"I thought he did a fantastic offensive tackle towards the end of the game, where if they'd broken the line they would have been able to have one last shot at us.

"But he took all that time and space away, wrapped the guy up, got to his feet, stole the ball.

"That's the sort of quality he brings, it wasn't just the quality of the tackle, it's the quality of what he did post-tackle that makes him great value.

"By his own standards there were a couple of loose passes, and he'll look to tidy that up.

"But again, he's a player who plays well when he's had a couple of games under his belt. So he'll be a little bit more comfortable again next week.

"You feel a little bit more under pressure to create something when you haven't had a lot of ball.

"It's a fine line balance between taking risks and pushing it too far."

Schmidt was encouraged by Ulsterman Luke Marshall's showing at inside centre in the absence of Gordon D'Arcy, who was slow to recover from a stomach bug.

D'Arcy could reasonably be expected to return to partner O'Driscoll this weekend, and Schmidt admitted Ireland must fight to contain Wales' midfield threats on Saturday.

"Anyone would have their hands full trying to stop Jamie Roberts when he comes on those real strong lines," said Schmidt.

"Scott Williams' passing really adds something there, and if Jonathan Davies is back as reported then Gats has some real options in that midfield.

"I've no doubt Wales will pick themselves up and improve, they are too good not to.

"At the same time we've got to believe we're formidable enough at the Aviva to have a real go at them."

Lions tours have taught number eight Heaslip Wales' much-vaunted power game is by no means overestimated in any quarters.

Expecting a brutal contest on Saturday, Leinster loose-forward Heaslip said: "I've played with some of them on both tours, as athletes they are big guys, they've got some serious athletes there. Some of their backs are bigger than their forwards.

"And some of their forwards are great footballers who get through a lot of work as well, carrying extremely hard.

"Wales play a simple game and do it very well, and if you get the basics right in this game you can thrive."

 

PA

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker