Brian O’Driscoll is set to call time on his rugby career this year – but Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt believes the centre’s Six Nations swansong will not be a distraction next month.
O’Driscoll featured in his fourth British & Irish Lions tour last summer, helping Warren Gatland’s side to a series win in Australia.
And he confirmed later in the year that this season will be his last, as the 35-year-old plans to hang up his boots at the end of the campaign.
Schmidt has the honour of coaching the Ireland and Lions legend in his final Six Nations campaign this year and he expects O’Driscoll to approach the tournament in his customary professional manner.
“The good thing about Brian is that he's pretty understated in the dressing room," said Schmidt.
“He has an edge to him and he'll tidy someone up if that person is not properly focused, but he doesn't dominate.
“I don't think there'll be any distraction involving Brian – certainly, he won't be looking to cause a distraction.”
O’Driscoll will be captained next month by Paul O’Connell, who captained the British & Irish Lions in South Africa in 2009 as well as touring Australia last year.
And the veteran second row is pleased to have a number of experienced heads alongside him in the Ireland camp – none more so than O’Driscoll.
“Brian doesn't do a lot of giving out," said O’Connell. “He leads by his own example.
“When he does pull you to one side and tells you you're doing something wrong, it tends not to happen a second time.”