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BOD an icon - Rowntree

21st February 2014 14:02

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Graham Rowntree Training

Respectful: Graham Rowntree

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has warned his side they must nullify an "icon" in Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll on Saturday.

Despite a quieter opening two games by his own standards, O'Driscoll has remained an influential presence in Joe Schmidt's team, especially a fortnight ago as Ireland emphatically downed Wales 26-3 in Dublin.

Rowntree was part of the coaching staff on the previous two British and Irish Lions tours, with O'Driscoll also among the party, and remembers how upset the 35-year-old was at being left out of the deciding Third Test squad last year in Australia.

"Beating us will mean everything to him. What a player... he's an icon," said Rowntree

"He's a thoroughly professional player and I really enjoyed working with him. As a man he's exceptional.

"You hear the way Owen Farrell, Luther Burrell and Billy Vunipola speak about him, you can tell the respect they have for him.

"He took that disappointment in the Lions series on the chin.

"I remember the day when he was left out of the team, that afternoon he was sat down with the guys going through things on the computer, helping them and coaching them. That speaks volumes about the man."

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