Rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll didn’t hold back as he unveiled the toughest opponent he ever faced on the field – none other than former England flanker and Rugby World Cup champion, Richard Hill.
Reflecting on his early career, O’Driscoll shared insights into his experiences playing alongside and against Hill.
The formidable duo shared the field during the 2001 Lions Tour of Australia, a pivotal moment in O’Driscoll’s career that saw him make a resounding impact on the global stage. It was amidst these fierce battles that Hill left an indelible mark on O’Driscoll, earning the esteemed title of the ‘hardest’ player he ever encountered.
Asked his toughest ever opponent, O’Driscoll said: “Richard Hill, England No.6 that won the World Cup in 2003.
“He was a brilliant teammate but he made that team tick, he was the unsung hero in that world cup win.
“He was hard! I always liked playing with guys that were nails in the team, that really stood up and never took a backwards step.”
But when questioned on what was the toughest tackle he ever had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of.
“Jonny Wilkinson…I couldn’t walk for two weeks!”
Brian O’Driscoll ranks his five toughest opponents
#5. JASON ROBINSON (ENGLAND)
O’DRISCOLL SAID: “To get to see in close quarters what he was capable of. You see so much on a Saturday, but when you’re training and playing and watching players of that calibre leading up to a Saturday. You see some exceptional stuff that cameras don’t always catch.
“Jason, I knew so little of him in 2001 other than his rugby league talent. But to have a full appreciation of what his footwork was like, you need to defend against it, and it was horrible at times in training.
“I would’ve analysed him a lot as I played against him, he was equally comfortable on either foot, it made no difference to him. There was no preference on ball carry, you just could not work him out. He honed the ability to be unpredictable as well.
“He might’ve been a small guy, but he packed a serious punch too.”