New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith believes Brian O’Driscoll is as good as ever as the All Blacks prepare to face Ireland on Saturday.
O'Driscoll will lead Ireland against the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium. But once again he finds himself on the wrong end of intense criticism following some below par performances.
The scrutiny is nothing new for O'Driscoll. He has been written off before only to storm back to form. During the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa, the third of his career, he proved he was still at the top of his game.
And the All Blacks assistant is a firm believer that O'Driscoll is still one of the world's most devastating players.
"If you look at his contact skills, he's just as good as ever, he's got power and agility still," said Smith. "Brian O'Driscoll is probably the best midfielder in the world.
"Ireland have got a world-class midfield in Gordon D'Arcy and O'Driscoll.
"We had a look at Ireland's games. They will be disappointed with Samoa no doubt but they played pretty well against South Africa and could have pinched it.
"They've got a never-say-die attitude, that's what I like about them, so we expect they will be a lot better than they were against Samoa.
"They just have to click. It's a fact of life that you can't always be at your best; our expectation is that they will be a lot better on Saturday.
"Teams sometimes get carried away when they play the All Blacks, I think that happened with Scotland last week.
"There was too much talk about us before the game. That's what potential victory against the All Blacks does, they start thinking 'if we win this we're going to be legends', rather than actually doing the business."