Richard Hibbard says veteran Leinster centre Brian O'Driscoll is still among the world's best as the Heineken Cup kick-off approaches.
Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard claims veteran Leinster centre Brian O'Driscoll is still among the world's best as the Heineken Cup kick-off approaches.
The Ospreys hooker toured with O'Driscoll in June with the British and Irish Lions, and says the 34-year-old will be a big threat for Leinster against his side should he overcome a calf strain in time for the Pool One meeting.
“He will be massive for them whether he plays or not,” he told WalesOnline.
“Just his presence there, his experience, leadership, the talking in team meetings is just huge.
“If he's playing on the pitch or not involved he is still a big talisman. He's a great bloke and has a great presence around the team.”
The man likely to be lining up opposite him for the Ospreys, Andrew Bishop, paid tribute to the “magic” that courses through the Irishman's veins.
“He's still got something,” Bishop told WalesOnline.
“You can watch videos all week of what he's going to do but come Saturday who knows?
“When he has the ball he does something to you mentally. He seems to cause errors around him and you want to jump out of the line or something.
“He has that bit of magic about him and is up there with the best players I've faced.
“We've had some good times against him but there's been a couple of times when he's done me as well.”
O'Driscoll's knock may keep him out of the opening round clash, joining the illustrious ex-Wallaby international Lote Tuqiri on the sidelines, but Bishop is keen to point out the Leinster backline remains full of attacking threat.
“They're great players and you can't take your eye off them for a second. You're always thinking,” confided Bishop.
“As soon as they sniff any sort of opportunity, they look to make the most of it.
“Once a turnover comes, you can hear them screaming at each other for the ball. When they attack they just seem to come alive.
“If you switch off defensively they'll punish you.”