Obviously each and every International athlete has to possess a certain amount of natural talent, but talent alone is often not enough. Having very strong mental strength reinforces natural talent, and the most focused and mentally strong player I have ever worked with has to be Brian O’Driscoll. ‘Drico’ is so mentally tough that he can literally do anything on a rugby pitch at such a high level, whether it’s a tackle, a sidestep, a drop goal, a pass round the back, kicking for touch – you name it, he can do it.
Even off the pitch I often marvelled at how confident and mentally strong Drico was. When he would give interviews or speeches after rugby dinners it was hard to believe he was only twenty-something! Only an individual as mentally strong as Drico could present such a cool exterior and portray an air of being so self assured. It seemed to be infectious. You never were never really on edge and didn’t panic when Drico had the ball or when he started to speak. His demeanour seemed to put those around him at ease.