Leinster and Ireland star Sean O'Brien chats Heineken Cup, video games and Ryan Reynolds
Leinster and Ireland star Sean O’Brien has been pivotal to Ireland and Leinster’s success in recent years. He spoke to JOE about the Heineken Cup, video games, Ryan Reynolds and rugby in Carlow.
JOE: You are now the favourites to win the Heineken Cup; can the players themselves feel the momentum with two heavy wins behind them, ahead of the match against Clermont?
SOB: Yeah there probably is a little bit of momentum and it’s a good place to be at the moment, but we have to go out and win again this weekend and get that real consistency that we want.
So it’s an interesting time of the year and everyone is really looking forward to what’s ahead of us.
JOE: It’s a tough fixture for this semi-final against Clermont Auvergne in Franc, but this Leinster side seems to up their game the bigger challenge they face…
SOB: Yeah we’ve got as good a chance as any going over. We’ve beaten French sides over in France before and this is no different.
They’re a class side and they have shown that throughout the pool stages and in the quarter-finals. It’s a massive test for us and one we are looking forward to it.
JOE: You are on the cusp of history in being the first side since the early part of the last decade and Leicester in winning two consecutive Heineken Cups. Is that something that would be on your mind?
SOB: No, you have to keep the focus and not look too far ahead because it will end up coming back and biting you. So we will take one game at a time and see where that leaves us.
JOE: Do you focus on different things in the latter half of the season or is everything you need to know ingrained at this stage and it’s just a case of keeping things ticking over?
SOB: It’s much the same to be honest, you probably get a bit more rest this time of the year and stuff like that. It’s definitely similar enough though – you have to have the same mindset and preparation for all these games.
JOE: Shane Horgan has retired now did he say anything to the team ahead of the Cardiff game to help motivate you?
SOB: Yeah Shane said a couple of words alright. Shane is one of the legends of Leinster rugby and is a great friend as well and a great man to talk to about anything really. So we were delighted to have him there and sorry to see him go.
JOE: The commentator on Sky last week was waxing lyrical about the win against Cardiff, but kept referring to the fact that forwards like yourself and Cian Healy have so much dynamism for Leinster, but that it is lacking when you play internationally. Do you think that is fair considering you are required to play a different style for your country?
SOB: Yeah it’s completely different playing with your country than with your province, everything is a bit different you know?
It’s obviously a higher standard playing with Ireland than with Leinster. Everybody thinks that because you play well with your province, you should automatically play well with your country.
With Ireland I think we did play well at times, but it’s getting that consistency...
I think what people forget is that you are with your province all year around and you are used to one another. Now, that’s not an excuse for why we didn’t play well with Ireland, but it is something to look at.
Take the World Cup for instance; we were with each other for a long time before that and we played some of our best rugby, so it’s about picking the right combinations and gelling them together and getting it right on the day.
We slipped up a couple of times this year as players and if we hadn’t the results could have been a bit different.
JOE: Getting away from international and provincial rugby for a minute and going back to your hometown club of Tullow; they lost to Enniscorthy in the Provincial Towns Cup Final the other week. I know you have been involved in coaching them and have been a presence around the club. How do you stay involved and keep following it?
SOB: Yeah I keep following it. This year now I took a bit of back-seat, but the last three years I had been coaching the whole timewith them.
I’ve only been up and down every now and again this year, but the lads were very unlucky last weekend, I was at the game and I was very disappointed for them. That’s the second Town’s Cup Final they’ve lost in four years so hopefully next year they can win one…
JOE: There have been a few notable players to come of Carlow – you and Bernard Jackman immediately come to mind and the other sports aren’t as strong in the county at the moment.
The hurlers were promoted last week and the footballers have a few marquee players, but are still developing... do you think rugby can become the number one sport in Carlow and it can become known as one of the big rugby counties?
SOB: Yeah, I think it can!
I think it has grown year-on-year and it’s very important that the country is doing well and the province is doing well, it keeps everyone thinking about rugby, but overall it has grown massively in the area over the last few years.
JOE: A friend of mine was chatting to you in Copper Face Jacks in Dublin after the win against Cardiff. Is their ever any dissension in the ranks over what nightclub to go celebrate in after a big win between the lads from the country and the lads from Dublin?
SOB: [Laughs] No, no - not at all! We usually stick around together, so wherever the crowds go - we’ll go!
JOE: You’re here today to celebrate the release of the new Kinect range of games – what do you think of it?
SOB: I kind of had the gist of what it was going to be like, but trying it out was the fun part!
I think the dancing game was pretty cool! It was just a bit of a laugh and you get a bit of a work out as well. I think the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is more for athletes - they might get a bit more out of it as it works on your core and does push-ups, so it’s pretty good!
JOE: Speaking of body shape, Xbox 360 released a survey of Irishmen and women’s ideal body types to coincide with the launch of these games and apparently you are tied with actor Ryan Reynolds as having the ultimate chest most men would want, what do you think of that?
SOB: [Laughs] I don’t really know what to think of that to be honest! I’m not reading too much into it, but that’s what I’ve been told!
JOE: Fan of his movies?
SOB: [Laughs] No wouldn’t say I am a fan of his movies...not anymore anyway!
JOE: Would you use this as an addition to your own training?
SOB: I'm not sure about that because my workout would be specific to rugby.
There are certain thinks like sit-ups, push-ups and the core workout on the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved side of things that would definitely be connected to rugby and strength and stuff, but the dancing game would be great for parties and family events. There’d be a good buzz around that.
JOE: Do manage to fit in much gaming between coaching at times in Tullow, being a top class rugby player and farming? How does that work out?
SOB: That’s the thing - getting the time to play it… If I was sitting at home for a day off I’d do a bit of it. Any chance you get like when some the lads are around it’s a good activity to get involved in, but I would like to do a little more of it when I have a little more time on my plate!
Leinster & Ireland Rugby Player, Sean O’Brien was speaking at the Kinect for Xbox 360 Fitness Event where he checked out the Kinect Fitness games, Dance Central 2, Your Shape Fitness Evolved, and Zumba Fitness Rush, all exclusively for Kinect for Xbox 360.