Alan Quinlan has echoed the interpretation of Seán O'Brien's injury-induced end to his Irish rugby career as a huge blow to Ireland's World Cup hopes and said the Leinsterman should have achieved 50 more caps than he did.
Former Munster and Ireland’s Quinlan was speaking on Monday’s OTB AM and reflected that the conclusion of O’Brien’s career in Irish rugby was a “very sad ending because he had such a phenomenal career”.
“You talk about the passion and the drive and the determination you want in a sportsperson and he had it all”, Quinlan noted.
“Seán had that explosiveness, he had the ability to beat people just with that little bit of evasion and then acceleration through that space. If you're not on the money with Seán O'Brien he’s going to blow through you.”
However, Quinlan noted that injuries had hampered O’Brien’s career over the last few years and that in recent years it was more a matter of O’Brien trying to recover rather than revering himself on the pitch.
“Every time I met him the last couple of seasons I always seemed to say ‘best of luck’ or ‘good luck in the recovery’. It was a lot of that, there wasn't much ‘well done’, ‘brilliant game’, ‘brilliant stuff’, because usually he was out injured.”
Quinlan continued: "He has 56 Ireland caps. He probably should have had 100 caps."
Quinlan also recounted his memory of playing against O’Brien during a Leinster v Munster match at the Aviva Stadium in 2010.
“I remember just thinking, wow!”, Quinlan recalled, “because the acceleration of this guy but the hands as well he gave a lovely little deft pass for Drico [Brian O'Driscoll] to score in the corner but he was tough as well and abrasive.”