Ireland coach Declan Kidney has urged Brian O’Driscoll to prolong his Test career into next season.
O’Driscoll may have played his final match at the Aviva Stadium in Saturday’s 13-13 RBS 6 Nations draw with France as his contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union expires this summer.
The forthcoming Lions tour to Australia, which he is second favourite to captain, offers a fitting stage for a player of his stature to bow out from the game, but his future remains undecided.
“It’s a decision for Brian obviously, but I’m hoping this won’t be his last game as he’s such a huge asset,” Kidney said.
The evidence from the Six Nations is that O’Driscoll remains a significant presence in Test rugby, although his bravery is taking its toll on his body.
Against France alone he had a spell in the concussion bin, picked up more stitches to his ear and suffered a dead leg.
The 34-year-old spent four minutes being patched up by medics late in the match, only to return to the fray with his head bandaged to help prevent the French from claiming the match-winning score.
“One minute Brian didn’t know where was, the next he was coming back on with his head strapped up.
“He’s a true warrior,” said wing Keith Earls.