Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2014 12:05 | By Agence France-Presse

O'Driscoll aims for one last final flourish

Brian O'Driscoll is hoping to follow Jonny Wilkinson's example and sign-off a remarkable career with a silver lining when Leinster face Glasgow in the RaboDirect PRO12 Final at the Royal Dublin Society ground on Saturday. 


O'Driscoll aims for one last final flourish

Leinster's Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll trains prior to their European Cup rugby union match against Castres, at the Pierre Antoine Stadium in Castres, southern France, on January 12, 2014 - by Gabalda

The Ireland and British Lions great is set to bring down the curtain on one of the greatest modern-day rugby careers when he dons the Leinster blue for the 186th and last time in his final match before retirement.

And with it, he aims to clinch a fourth PRO12 (Celtic League) title to match the retiring Wilkinson's departing triumph in the Heineken (European) Cup final in Cardiff last weekend.

This season has seen the 35-year-old O'Driscoll become the world's most-capped player with 141 appearance for Ireland and the Lions and claim as second Six Nations title. The centre also has three Heineken Cup winners' medals in his locker.

His inclusion in the Leinster side in their bid to become the first side to win back-to-back Celtic titles was in doubt after he was laid out in a heavy collision with Iain Henderson in the semi-final win over Ulster. 

Yet with trademark resilience, he has overcome that injury and is raring to go for one last hoorah.

"I feel good and it's nice to have one more final to play for. It will be tough, but it's nice to have it at home," said O'Driscoll of a match that will take place on Leinster's own ground.

"You can only ask for opportunities to be in finals and win them, but the rest is up to you. Then you hope to get the job done."

- Glasgow desire -

Former European champions Leinster have been the dominant force in Celtic rugby, this being their fifth domestic final in a row.

In contrast, Glasgow are the first Scottish side to reach this stage having been knocked out by Leinster, 17-15, in last season's semi-finals.

However they are a team in form on the back of nine successive victories, including a dramatic one-point triumph over Munster in the semi-final, as they aim to spoil the party in Dublin.

"We've got a great team, a great squad and we can do it, but it's just about having the right level of readiness -- not being over the top and too excited -- but being clinical and doing your job with absolute pin-point accuracy," said Glasgow wing Sean Lamont.

"I've been trying for long enough to get some silverware, Gregor (Townsend, the Warriors' coach and former Scotland back) really wants it as well, so the desire is there. 

"We've got a lot of guys who have been capped internationally and this is basically a Test match.

"There is nowhere after this – it's all or nothing, winner-takes-all, and there is no comeback. It's either bridesmaid or bride."

As well as wanting to give their greatest player the perfect send-off, Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip is eyeing up a fourth season with a major title.

Dublin-based Leinster were Heineken Cup champions in 2011 and 2012 and Amlin (European) Challenge Cup and PRO12 winners last year.

"If we come together and play to our standard, we'll get the outcome that we deserve," said Ireland No 8 Heaslip.

"If you compare it to last year, we're in a better position. Last year we didn't get out of our group in Europe, this year we got out, but unfortunately got beaten by the team (Toulon) who went on to win it.

"The guys who take the field on Saturday are going to know their job and will execute to the best of their ability and then back it up for 80 minutes."

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