Jim Lyon - BOD will leave us with some great memories

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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I remember the Six Nations of 2000 clearly.

It was, of course, the first one. Italy had been admitted and achieving the Grand Slam would now take one more match.

And the newcomers started by beating Scotland - not something that would go down too well among the Lyon clan.

However, the Calcutta was won - at a bone-dry and definitely not-at-all muddy Murrayfield - which is a thing of such rarity it stays with you.

There are personal reasons, too.

It was the last one I was able to watch with my father.

The Five Nations had always been something of a tradition in our house.

A few big bags of crisps, some tubs of dips, a slab of Ruddles County and then we would settle down for an afternoon of rugby.

The weekends I was able to do that in 2000, in between work, hold special memories as shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and we would never do it again.

But there is another, far more pleasant reason, for that year sticking in my mind.

It was the first time I really remember hearing of Brian O’Driscoll.

That well-documented hat-trick in Paris stands out even now.

From what I recall he put in an excellent all-round performance aside from the tries but I do remember one where he scooped up a bobbling ball and then carved through a scattered French defence to score.

Since then he has been one of my favourite players.

I have a few one-eyed friends who claim he is not as good as people make him out to be.

He is.

That his God-like status is injustified.

It is not.

That he gets away with things because of who he is.

Well, maybe...

But certainly in the era of the Six Nations there has been no better player.

Having spanned its entire existence it would be hard to make a push for anyone else simply because of BOD’s longevity.

That does not tell the story, though.

The breaks, the off-loads, the dogged tackling, the ability to ruck as well as most sevens, the sidesteps, the angles of running, the ability to inspire a team and a nation.

And, rather sickeningly, he also seems like a decent bloke.

Some guys have it all.

Since 2000 he has more often than not been the spark for a match or even the whole tournament.

It has been his contribution that, come Saturday night, is the thing people were talking about.

There is no doubt the Six Nations, and the world of rugby as a whole, will be poorer without him after he bows out this weekend.

And it would nice, just for old time sake, if he could depart with a bang and leave us with a special memory or three in the same way he arrived.