Brian O’Driscoll has praised the footwork of his former British and Irish Lions teammate Jason Robinson, recalling just how difficult he was to defend against.
Ireland legend O’Driscoll played with Robinson for the first time on the Lions tour of Australia back in 2001, less than a year after the English winger switched from rugby league to rugby union.
Robinson hadn’t come up on O’Driscoll’s radar much due to his limited time in rugby union, but the former Ireland captain explained to Off The Ball how he would never forget the Englishman’s talent after training with him.
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“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,” O’Driscoll explained.
“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.”
‘You just could not work him out.’
Robinson is remembered as one of the best side-steppers in both rugby league and rugby union, and played a crucial role in England’s Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003.
The Englishman was well able to step off of either foot, and possessed plenty of strength for his relatively small stature, something of which O’Driscoll was well aware.
O’Driscoll came up against Robinson on numerous occasions in games between Ireland and England, and admitted that he could never predict what the former Sale Sharks flyer was going to do next.
“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,” O’Driscoll said.
“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.”