Six Nations 2014: Brian O'Driscoll seeks title-winning exit for Ireland


  • Venues: Stadio Olimpico, Millennium Stadium, Stade de France
  • Date: Saturday, 15 March
  • Kick-offs: 1230 GMT, 1445 GMT, 1700 GMT

Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Ulster/Wales/Cymru, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app

Brian O'Driscoll wants the emotion of his final Test to propel Ireland to the Six Nations title in Paris on Saturday.

Ireland's points difference of 81 is likely to mean any win over France will seal their first title since 2009, but England and France could deny them.

The retiring O'Driscoll was cheered off in his final match in Ireland and ahead of his 141st and last Test he said: "There'll be a little bit more emotion.

Who can win the Six Nations?

Ireland have a points difference of 81 and a win of any kind against France should see them take the title, although England could catch them with a massive win against Italy. However, Ireland have only won in Paris once in 42 years.

England must beat Italy. If France then beat Ireland, the title should be England's. However, if Ireland win by as little as one point then England must win in Rome by 51 points to overhaul the current 49-point gap.

France must beat Ireland and hope England lose. But if England beat Italy by one point then the French must win by 31 points to overturn the current 29-point gap to claim the title.

If teams are level on points and points difference, then the title goes to the team who scored the most tries during the Championship.

"This is my last chance, hopefully I'll project it in the most positive way."

O'Driscoll, who made his international debut in 1999, set a new record as rugby union's most-capped player in last week's 46-7 win against Italy before a passionate Dublin crowd.

And the 35-year-old admitted: "I'm sure there will be tears [in Paris], whether you see them or not, we'll have to wait and see."

This year's Six Nations concludes on Saturday with Ireland, England and France all on six points going into the final round of matches.

Were two teams to be level on points come the end of Saturday's matches the title would be decided by points difference, with Ireland well ahead after four games with an advantage of 81.

England play first, against Italy in Rome at 12:30 GMT, knowing they will need to win by at least 51 points to have a chance of taking the title were Ireland to beat France later in the day.

Stuart Lancaster's England team, who secured their first Triple Crown for 11 years by beating Wales 29-18 last weekend, have replaced father-to-be Joe Marler with Mako Vunipola in the only change to their XV from Twickenham.

Italy have yet to beat England in 19 matches but have only lost against them by more than 50 points on two occasions, in 1999 and 2001, and when the teams last met in Rome in 2012 England recorded a narrow 19-15 victory.

O'Driscoll's toughest opponents

"Richard Hill would be up there with Martin Johnson. In the southern hemisphere the best opponent would have been Tim Horan, he was class, and more recently the likes of Richie McCaw, who was quite the freak. Being capped 125-odd times at seven in a country like New Zealand is quite exceptional."

Asked whether his team are capable of winning by more than 50 points on Saturday, England assistant coach Andy Farrell said: "It all starts with your mentality, we've got to impose our game and make sure we get momentum within the game and see how it goes from there.

"You'd like to put your own destiny in your own hands, but you can't shoot yourself in the foot along the way."

He added that he thinks England have got a good chance of winning the title "because the French are at their best when their backs are against the wall".

"A few questions have been asked of the French team recently and when you get the French in that type of situation, they can be very dangerous."

Wales against Scotland is the second match on Saturday, in Cardiff at 14:45 GMT, with Gethin Jenkins winning a record 105th Welsh cap, before the crucial final match between France and Ireland at 17:00 GMT.

O'Driscoll on 2009 Grand Slam

"We were nearly men until that year and to finally come good was such a relief. We had the ability to beat five very good sides, you realise the importance of it because since then we've done next to nothing in the Six Nations."

France have recalled forward Louis Picamoles for the finale while Ireland, who have only won once in Paris in 42 years, make one change, bringing back fit-again flanker Peter O'Mahony in place of Iain Henderson.

The last Irish success in Paris came in 2000 when O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick but the Ireland legend believes there is plenty of talent to fill his shoes once the final whistle goes on Saturday evening.

"We've got lots of great potential coming through and the future looks bright," he said.

"Ireland are in good hands and under Joe Schmidt we've got the depth of squad where guys can replace others seamlessly and competition for places is a lot hotter than when I came in in 1999. Standards are really being driven to hopefully a new level."

Six Nations round four: O'Driscoll the master

Six Nations round four: O'Driscoll the master