When the whistle blew for kick-off at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, it marked a historic sporting occasion in that Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll became the most-capped player in rugby union history. Winning his 140th cap to eclipse the record set by George Gregan, the 35 year old made his international debut back in 1999 against Australia and has not looked back since. He captained the national side 83 times between 2003 and 2012, making him joint second with South African John Smit in the all time leading international captains appearances. To mark the occasion, boot manufacturer adidas designed a custom colourway for the Ireland centre to wear on his big day.
O’Driscoll has been lacing up adidas Predator boots for Ireland since 1999 and has even had a personalised pair made in the past. Back in 2003 the Irishman was issued with a pair of 9 15 boots with his shirt number and a shamrock embroidered on the heel but this is nothing compared to the latest look adidas have helped to create in tribute to their ambassador.
O’Driscoll’s personalised adidas Predators Incurza Rugby boots certainly won’t go unnoticed on the pitch. A splendid collegiate navy shade covers the upper but the addition of real green and mett. gold truly bring the boots to life. The three colours applied in the one-off colourway all have a different meanings behind them to the centre. The navy that wraps the boot signifies his club side Leinster, the green represents Ireland and the gold for his career. With the adidas Predator Incurza O’Driscoll’s preferred playing boot, he took great pride in collaborating with adidas to create this very personal design.
There are a number of embroideries on the boots and the most personal being on the outside of the toe where ‘A&S’ honour the first initials of his wife Amy and daughter Sadie. These were handwritten by O’Driscoll making for an extra special touch which meant so much to him. Directly beneath is ’13OD’, his playing number and his surname initials combined to create a look very similar to one of the nicknames given to him over the years.
As well as ‘BOD’, the centre has also been given other names during his career. After the first test of the 2001 Lions tour of Australia, he earned the nickname ‘Waltzing O’Driscoll’ courtesy of a superb try he scored after receiving the ball some 60 metres out and beat four Wallabies to the line. On the side of the boots just below the ankles his other nickname ‘FACE’ is embroidered. We are unsure as to why he has been given the name but assume it is something to do with 80’s TV show The A-Team. The main characteristics of Templeton “Faceman” Peck were that he could get virtually anything he set his mind to, his integrity and the fact that he would rip the shirt off his back for you. All of these can easily be associated with O’Driscoll.
On the inside of the boots his club name (LEINSTER), the Irish Province he has represented throughout his illustrious career, is embroidered alongside the Latin saying ‘AD ASTRA’ meaning “to the stars”. O’Driscoll made his club debut in 1999 and has been an ever-present since for club and country. He has won the Celtic League and Heineken Cup three times each as well as the Amlin Challenge cup once.
Off the rugby field and O’Driscoll has always been one for famous quotes. Once when asked about what it was like to play with and against former England captain and manager Martin Johnson, he responded with ‘Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.’ Wise words from the Irish legend but we are glad that he stuck to the day job on the field, with his greatest legacy being that he helped to entertain and inspire a generation of rugby fans and players.
This fantastic look is limited to the special man himself but you can still pick up your own pair of adidas Predator Incurza rugby boots from Lovell Rugby – the world’s largest online rugby store.