21st Mar, 2019

Skipper O'Callaghan saddened at prospect of final game in May

Aaron Wise 23rd Nov, 2017

VETERAN lock Donncha O’Callaghan insists he will not make a decision on his future until his contract expires in May.

The 38-year-old Warriors skipper, who has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning almost 20 years, admitted his sadness at the prospect of Worcester’s final Premiership game of the season also being his last as a professional.

But the Ireland legend, pictured right, admitted he has been selfish over the past couple of years and must start putting his family first.

On the international stage, O’Callaghan represented Ireland 94 times including the Six Nations Grand Slam-winning side of 2009, along with four appearances for the British and Irish Lions.

At domestic level, he picked up two Heineken Cup titles and two Magners League titles with Munster during a record 268 appearances across 17 years.

“I’ve been frustrated constantly with it (being asked about retirement). Since the age of 30 I’ve been answering the question,” said O’Callaghan.

“I’m out of contract in May so I’ll have to make a decision then, but all I’m saying is whereas before I would have prioritised rugby, I’ll be prioritising my family in May.

“I’m going to make sure they are number one in my thinking. I’ll be honest, to this point I haven’t done that. I thought I was making sacrifices and I wasn’t, I was just being selfish. I love rugby and it’s been brilliant to me, it’s carved me out as an individual, but I love my family more so it’s getting the balance.

“If you were to tell me that May would be the last time I played a rugby match, I would be very sad. Body-wise I feel great and if you chat to the lads my numbers are still good. It’s just getting the balancing act and family matters most.”

The Cork-born lock insisted if he does hang his boots up at the end of the season, he would love to end his career with keeping the club in the Premiership.

“It’s a legacy issue. It’s about being able to look players like Ted Hill and Andrew Kitchener in the eyes and knowing you’ve left the place in a better spot for younger guys like them,” he added.

“I probably won’t taste success at Warriors, but I want to change an environment so others can. You need guys who will set a platform for younger players.”

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