Scrum-half Mike Phillips has hailed fellow British & Irish Lion Brian O’Driscoll as ‘an icon of world rugby’ ahead of Wales’ trip to Ireland on Saturday.
O’Driscoll featured in his fourth straight tour last summer in Australia, collecting his first series victory, while Phillips was playing in his second.
The Ireland centre broke his country’s national record for most caps won last weekend, notching his 129th in the victory over Scotland and with eight Lions Test appearances also to his name, O’Driscoll is just two behind the all-time leader George Gregan of Australia.
But Phillips’ earliest memory of O’Driscoll is the Irishman’s first Lions tour – in 2001 against the Wallabies – when he scored a memorable try in Brisbane.
And Phillips is only too aware that Wales must keep O’Driscoll quite if they are to prevail in Dublin this weekend.
"My early memories were of him scoring that try against Australia for the Lions (in 2001) and I eventually went on to play alongside him, which was a massive honour for me,” said Phillips.
"He's scored some big tries in his career, and a couple against us as well.
"He's a world-class player. Everyone knows that, and I just hope he has one of those lesser games on the weekend!"