Player of the Championship – Classic Winners: Brian O’Driscoll 2007

For the second year running, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll was the cream of the crop in the Six Nations, as he was named Player of the Championship in 2007, becoming the first player to win the award twice.

For the second year running, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll was the cream of the crop in the Six Nations, as he was named Player of the Championship in 2007, becoming the first player to win the award twice.

Increasing the feeling of deja vu for O’Driscoll was the fact that there was also the same result at the top of the table as the year before, with Ireland finishing second behind France on points difference.

O’Driscoll captained Ireland in what was a historic campaign, as it was the first for the men in green in their temporary new home – the 83,000-capacity Croke Park – following the closure of Lansdowne Road.

Inspired by their skipper, it was ultimately a tale of what might have been for the side coached by Eddie O’Sullivan, who came agonisingly close to not only a first title since 1985, but only their second-ever Grand Slam.


It didn’t take long for O’Driscoll‘s influence to be felt in the 2007 Six Nations, as Ireland opened their campaign against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

The Irish trailed 9-5 in the 32nd minute when a flowing move from left to right, involving his midfield partner Gordon D’Arcy and Ronan O’Gara, led to him crashing over in the corner with a brilliant finish.

The visitors didn’t look back, as they won 19-9 to build confidence ahead of the visit of defending champions France in what was the Championship’s first-ever fixture at Croke Park.

A frenzied atmosphere was only ratcheted up further when O’Gara went over in the 31st minute to drag Ireland back into the contest, following Raphael Ibanez’s early try, and two penalties from the fly-half put them 17-13 in front.

But Dublin hearts were broken by Les Bleus with just over a minute to go when Vincent Clerc crossed the whitewash, inflicting a 20-17 defeat on the Irish, in what turned out to be their only loss in that year’s Championship.


If the feeling after that game was one of crushing disappointment, it was the most dizzying of highs for Ireland after an emotional clash with England in their next home game.

O’Driscoll was one of many outstanding performers on the day for the hosts, who crushed England 43-13 to show they weren’t going to go down easily in fighting for the title.

It was O’Driscoll who helped open the floodgates with a lovely looping pass that allowed Girvan Dempsey to score the first of four Ireland tries during an evening their fans still talk about to this day.

A third Triple Crown in four years was then secured as O’Gara scored all of Ireland’s points in a nervy 19-18 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield that meant the Championship was still up for grabs on the final day as England ended France’s Grand Slam hopes at Twickenham.


Ireland were up first on ‘Super Saturday,’ as they faced Italy at the Stadio Flaminio knowing they needed to record an emphatic victory to have any chance of stealing the title from France.

That is exactly what occurred, as the visitors scored eight tries to win 51-24, but O’Driscoll, who set up the opening score for Dempsey, was unable to finish the match as he hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

It was an impressive victory but conceding tries in the final five minutes to Marco Bortolami and Roland de Marigny proved to be ever so costly.

France would dramatically beat Scotland 46-19, with their final try from Elvis Vermeulen coming in the last minute, allowed them to pip the Irish to the title with a points difference of just four.

Being named Player of the Championship for a second year in a row was of some consolation to O’Driscoll, as he beat 14 other players to the prize.

That included his Ireland teammates Paul O’Connell, O’Gara and David Wallace, while France duo Ibanez and Yannick Jauzion and England’s Josh Lewsey also enjoyed successful campaigns.