Six Nations: Brian O'Driscoll will be given time to make decision over Ireland future

Tomorrow's match with Italy could be his last Six Nations match

Ireland coach Declan Kidney insists Brian O'Driscoll will be allowed to determine his playing future in his own time.

O'Driscoll's contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union expires in the summer, raising the prospect that tomorrow's clash with Italy could be his final RBS 6 Nations match.

The summer Lions tour to Australia offers a fittingly-grand stage for his send-off and while the 34-year-old centre has performed to a high standard in the championship, injury is taking its toll.

He had to pass concussions protocols this week, and also suffered a lacerated ear and dead leg in last Saturday's 13-13 draw with France.

"Brian's playing really well. He's had a very strong Six Nations," Kidney said.

"But it's for Brian to decide what happens next. He's earned the right to be able to have the time and space to make the decision."

Kidney's own future is the subject of doubt with his contract also set to expire after the summer tour to North America.

Ireland's fortunes have fluctuated wildly during his reign, which began in 2008, and this Six Nations has been no different, although they have suffered horribly from a succession of injuries.

Yet remarkably if they win tomorrow and France beat Scotland, they will finish the championship in third. They could also land the wooden spoon.

"It's the type of job you live and not one you work at. There's a substantial difference between finishing third and bottom," Kidney said.

"I'm really enjoying it. It's a huge honour for me to be involved in Ireland and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

The latest injury setback saw fly-half Jonathan Sexton withdrawn from the starting XV because of a foot injury, so Paddy Jackson will continue at 10.

"Players will always get bangs and knocks. It's a physical contact game, no different to American Football," Kidney said.

"If you wait to be perfect, you'll never have a team, but no player will never go out on the field unless he is ready to go.

"We've lost two matches by a combined total of 10 points. A couple of small things and you could be in the winner's enclosure very quickly. But now isn't the time to moan, it's time to roll you sleeves up."

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea