O'Driscoll sidesteps royal wedding

by Staff Writer

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has turned down an invitation to the royal wedding in order to prepare for Leinster's European Cup clash with Toulouse, it was reported on Tuesday.

O'Driscoll told the Guardian in an interview that he had knocked back an invite to attend Friday's marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey because of pre-match commitments in Dublin.

Leinster face Toulouse in the European Cup semi-finals at Lansdowne Road on Saturday aiming to avenge their defeat to the French giants at the same stage of the competition last season.

O'Driscoll said turning down his royal invite had been a straightforward decision.

"I have a captain's run on Friday and as big an honour as it was to be invited, I can't ask for team runs to be at half-six in the evening so I can go to the wedding," O'Driscoll said.

"The team ethos comes first, even after 12 years. I know William and he's a nice, chatty, normal guy. On a conversational level with him and (Prince) Harry, it's extremely normal.

O'Driscoll said his wife, the actress Amy Huberman, would attend the royal nuptials.

" ... Amy's going as we felt there was an element of our representing Ireland as well," O'Driscoll said.

"It's going to be an incredible thing, with two billion watching, but I'll be at home, preparing for Toulouse."

O'Driscoll meanwhile believes home advantage this weekend could tip the balance in Leinster's favour.

"We lost to them in the semi in Toulouse last year. But being at home is a big advantage. We'll have over 40,000 supporting us and they'll only have 4,000.

"It's also about being able to sleep in your own bed the night before. It's a small thing but waking up here, at home on Saturday morning, is really important."

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