Ireland must deliver the RBS Six Nations title to pay due homage to Brian O’Driscoll’s record-breaking career, according to Eoin Reddan.
Iconic centre O’Driscoll will retire from international rugby after his 141st Test cap against France on Saturday.
Ireland’s seven-try, 46-7 hammering of Italy leaves Joe Schmidt’s side in a good position to take the Six Nations title with victory in Paris.
O’Driscoll has set a new Test appearance world record, and will extend his record Six Nations caps tally to 65 to boot.
The 35-year-old Leinster midfielder is Ireland’s leading try-scorer with 46, and tops the Six Nations all-time scoring charts with 26. Despite 15 years at the top of the world game, though, O’Driscoll only has one Six Nations crown, the 2009 Grand Slam.
Now his Leinster and Ireland team-mate Reddan believes he can add a second with victory in France next weekend.
“This win over Italy won’t mean much if we don’t back it up next week,” said Reddan. “We already spoke about that in the dressing room after the game.
“It was a great occasion, but the players have to pay their respects in terms of delivering in Paris for him.
“It was right to have it: these moments can pass you by if you don’t emphasise them.
“Now we as players have to deliver, and give him a pat on the back in a different way, and produce a huge performance in France to give him a proper and well-deserved send-off.
“The temptations are there for people outside the group to go over the top on a polished performance, but there’s no way we’re seeing ourselves as favourites over there.
“It is going to be a tough test for us, as it always is.”