Seán O'Brien (rugby player)

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Seán O'Brien
Sean O'Brien 2015 RWC.jpg
O'Brien playing for Ireland during the 2015 World Cup
Full name Seán Kevin O'Brien
Date of birth (1987-02-14) 14 February 1987 (age 28)
Place of birth Carlow, Ireland
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 108 kilograms (17.0 st)[1]
School Tullow Community School
University University College Dublin
Griffith College Dublin
Rugby union career
Current status
Position(s) Flanker / Number 8
Current team Leinster
Playing career
Position Flanker / Number 8
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2008- Leinster 96 (80)
correct as of 5 September 2015.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Ireland U21
Ireland U20
Ireland Wolfhounds
British and Irish Lions
correct as of 11 October 2015.

Sean Kevin O'Brien (born 14 February 1987) is an Irish professional rugby union player from Carlow, Ireland. He plays provincial rugby for Leinster and club rugby for UCD.

He is known for his barging runs and ball carrying, with the IRB's Rugby News Service describing him as 'a rampaging ball of destruction [2] He is also known for his speed, counter rucking, and defensive tackling.

He was selected to play for the British and Irish Lions for their 2013 tour to Australia.


Sean O'Brien playing in the 2011 Heineken Cup quarterfinal versus Leicester

O’Brien made his Leinster debut against Cardiff Blues in September 2008 in the Celtic League. He made his Heineken Cup debut against Castres Olympique in December 2008. He did not feature for Leinster in the 2009 Heineken Cup Final, but evidence of O’Brien’s emergence as one of the most exciting young back-row forwards in Europe came in the form of strong interest from France before Christmas of 2010. The Irish Rugby Football Union, keen to ensure they did not lose "The Tullow Tank", moved quickly and O’Brien agreed a new three-year deal with Leinster the following January. O'Brien was in outstanding form for Leinster during the pool stages of the 2010–11 Heineken Cup, and he was an integral part of the team that beat Northampton Saints to win the 2011 Heineken Cup Final. In January 2014, O'Brien signed a new two-year deal with Leinster.[3]


In 2007. he was a member of the Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam winning squad. O'Brien was called up to the Ireland team for the 2009 November Tests, and he gained his first cap when he came on as a substitute against Fiji at the RDS Arena on 21 November 2009.[4] He also came on as a replacement against South Africa in a 15–10 win on 28 November 2009.[5] He came off the bench against Italy in the 2010 Six Nations Championship, but was dropped afterwards. He was injured during Ireland's 2010 Summer Tests, but won his first start against Samoa in the 2010 Autumn Tests, though he did not feature in any other games. O'Brien started every game for Ireland during the 2011 Six Nations, winning the Man of the Match award against Italy. He came third in the 2011 Six Nations Player of the Championship losing out to the winner Andrea Masi.[6] He was selected in Ireland's final 30-man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. O'Brien started against Australia, Russia, Italy and Wales during Ireland's World Cup campaign, scoring a try against Russia and winning the Man-of-the-Match award against Italy. In the final 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match, O'Brien punched Pascal Papé in the first minute of the win over France. The incident went unnoticed by the match officials, and O'Brien later was named man of the match.[7][8] The win earned Ireland top pool placement, and a quarter-final against Argentina. O'Brien was later cited by World Rugby, and received a one-game ban (reduced from the recommended minimum of two for mitigating factors including an "exemplary disciplinary record"), meaning he will be unable to play in the quarter-final, but will be available for any further games.[9]


On 25 May 2011, O'Brien was named ERC European Player of the Year following a season where Leinster were Heineken Cup champions.[10] He was one of five players shortlisted from the 24 Heineken Cup and 20 Amlin Challenge Cup teams that included Leinster teammates Jamie Heaslip, Isa Nacewa, as well as, Stade Français' Sergio Parisse, and Northampton Saints' Soane Tonga'uiha.[11]

On 15 August 2011, O'Brien was awarded the Guinness/Rugby Writers of Ireland player of the year and received his award at a function in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.[12]

On 4 October 2011, O'Brien was named as the 'Player of Pool C' by the IRB.[2]

O'Brien was also named, at Openside Flanker, on the Sydney Morning Herald's 'Team of the World Cup Pool Stages', alongside team mates Paul O'Connell and Cian Healy.[13]

On 24 October 2011, the official Rugby World Cup website named O'Brien one of the tournament's 'Top Five Star Players.' [14]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2014 he bought “ Bellamy’s “ Pub in Ballsbridge with Leinster team mates Rob Kearney, David Kearney and Jamie Heaslip. After an extensive refurbishment it was reopened as “The Bridge 1859”.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Leinster Profile". Leinster Rugby. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b (Rugby News Service. "Player of Pool C: Ireland's Sean O'Brien". Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  3. ^ "Sean O'Brien fends off France and signs two-year Leinster contract". Irish Independent. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ireland 41–6 Fiji". RTÉ Sport. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Ireland 15–10 South Africa". BBC Sport. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "Masi scoops Six Nations award". ESPN Scrum. 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  7. ^ "Ireland's Sean O'Brien punches Pascal Pape in first minute of Rugby World Cup win over France before he's named man of the match". 2015-10-11. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  8. ^ "Sean O'Brien's Brutal Punch on Pape!! RWC 2015". Inferno Productions. 2015-10-11. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  9. ^'Brien_(Ireland).pdf
  10. ^ Kitson, Robert (25 May 2011). "Sean O'Brien of Leinster named European Player of the Year". Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Sean O'Brien lands ERC accolade". RTÉ News. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  12. ^ "O'Brien named writers' Player of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  13. ^ "Team of the Rugby World Cup". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  14. ^ "Top five players of RWC 2011". Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  15. ^ "Opening the bridge: Irish rugby players Rob & Dave Kearney, Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien open Dublin pub The Bridge 1859 today". 25 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "The Bar is Now Open - Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip officially open 'The Bridge 1859' in Ballsbridge". 2 October 2014. 

External links[edit]