Australian Super Rugby side the New South Wales Waratahs have had no contact with Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll, despite a number of media reports linking the Leinster center with a move to the Sydney-based side.
The Ireland skipper was quoted in British media, talking of his desire to link up again with former Leinster coach Michael Cheika, who now holds the reins at the Waratahs.
O’Driscoll, who after last year’s World Cup made tentative inquiries about playing a season of Super Rugby, said he would be excited by the challenge of playing against that caliber of player week-in, week-out.
“The three best teams in the world make up the Super 15, and you look at the individuals and you look at the caliber of sides, and the quality of Super Rugby and the intensity of it, obviously it is a hugely high standard,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
O’Driscoll tempered his enthusiasm with a dose of reality, conceding that his “time might have passed on that front,” but added that he was “definitely a never say never sort of person.”
The 33-year-old is contracted to Leinster up to June next year and he is then expected to play a central role in the British Lions tour of Australia in June and July.
“Cheiks has my number, so if he wants to give me a call, he knows how to get me,” O’Driscoll said.
Cheika said yesterday he would not want to disrupt Leinster’s season and had not spoken to the player since leaving the Irish club at the end of the 2009-2010 season for French Top 14 side Stade Francais.
“Obviously, I know Brian very well. It is no secret that he is one of a number of top players over there who would love to come down and play in the Super 15,” Cheika told Australian news agency AAP. “I saw him before I left — I went to say goodbye — but we haven’t spoken since. I wouldn’t want to do that to him or the club. He is in the middle of a season, the Heineken Cup is still on and they are focusing on that. It is still my club, and it is very close to me and I would not want to disrupt their season. That is Brian saying how he feels about things and what he might like to do.”
However, Cheika refused to rule out a move for the center.
“It would be a big decision for him to leave Ireland, but the thought is there with all the top players, they would all love to come down and have a try — there is no doubt about that,” he said. “We don’t have a marquee player ... and whether we would go down that road is something we would have to discuss.”