Donncha O'Callaghan on the flowering of his bromance with Alastair Campbell

It started in unlikely circumstances on the 2005 Lions tour

BY Raf Diallo 21:29 Thursday 23 February 2017, 21:29 23 Feb 2017

Donncha O'Callaghan shows off his new hat given to him from a fan at Carisbrook, Dunedin, New Zealand on Sunday June 19, 2005. Photo: Hannah Johnston/PHOTOSPORT

Friendships can blossom in unlikely places and that's exactly what happened between Donncha O'Callaghan and former Downing Street Press Secretary Alastair Campbell.

It was back during the 2005 Lions tour and ex-Munster and Ireland great O'Callaghan shared his side of it at Off The Ball's Olympia Roadshow. 

"I just didn't know the fella at all," said O'Callaghan of Campbell, whose jogging pants he pulled down for a laugh as revealed in a book by ex-England player Matt Dawson.

Lions Media Advisor to the team Alastair Campbell in 2004 ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"I was there, 'Who's this clown? Why's he any different to anyone of us here'. So I just thought if he's on a rugby tour, he's getting rugby treatment - which he didn't like at all!

"He was a bit of a "can't take it' at the start but he came around."

And they did build an unlikely friendship. 

"Honestly, we get a bit of a slagging but we're actually friendly enough. I keep in touch with him, keep in contact with him. You could not have more opposites in people," said O'Callaghan before joking, "I'm smart, witty... he's dull, boring, English fella."  

He also told the tale of the cost of playing former Ireland captain Keith Wood at table tennis and a prank played on him by Paul O'Connell:


Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week