On the eve of Brian O'Driscoll's last match against the old enemy, this rugby fan struggles to hold back a tear for the departing legend.

The talk of a Grand Slam has been uttered in hush whispers, and to say that there is a chance at this early stage is nonsense. We beat a vastly underperforming Welsh side and a Scottish team that would struggle against a talented under-7s team the way they are playing.

In fairness to the Irish media, very few have suggested it a possibility, the common sense view that we still have to go to Twickenham and the Stade de France has prevailed. If we do beat England, then we may start to dream, but that is a massive if.

Like all matches this game will come down to key battles. In this one, I see those areas as being the war of the 10s and the scrum.

Sexton, who I have never really seen as a big game International player has shown every ounce of potential he always had so far this campaign, yes Scotland and Wales were poor but you can only play the team in front of you. His place kicking and overall play has been second to none and his performance against Wales was a masterclass.

If the pressure of such a big game will get to him is yet to be seen, he has occasionally be known to blow it at the vital moment from the tee (See our devastating defeat to New Zealand for further details). Since his departure to Racing Metro there has been talk of his unhappiness, his desire to come home. In his last match for Racing Metro against Toulouse, a game I was in attendance for, he ran the game, even after being at the end of a bone crunching tackle that knocked hi, for 6. Back in the green of Ireland, the prodigal son has returned and this could be the year that he confirms to the world that he is a top class kicker.

In his way is his Lion's teammate Owen Farrell. The Saracens fly half is only 22, much younger and less experienced than Sexton. There is no doubting his talent but at times his temperament has gotten the better of him. In such a big game, a cool head will be needed. Big games need big tacklers and in this department, Sexton has the edge because despite being the smaller of the two men, sheer bravery makes him one of the best tackling 10s in world rugby.

The scrum as always will be a pivotal aspect of the game. The news that England's Dan Cole has been ruled out through injury will be welcomed by Cian Healey and co. A front row of Healey, Best and Ross is difficult to deal with at the best of times, Cole, an excellent scrummager and leader of the forwards will be missed, and his absence may allow a certain Mr Healey to rule the roost at loose head.

Another glorious sporting cliché to address is that big games need big players. They don’t come much bigger (not in height, obviously) than Brian O'Driscoll. The Irish centre will want his Twickenham swansong to allow him to cap off his career against them. Though not as quick as he once was, the great man has plenty to offer to his team. His passing, tackling and creativity are still among the world's best. England centre Luther Burrell heaped praise on the former Irish captain, saying that it was an honour to be playing against him. I’m not sure how far this friendliness will stretch but if he wants to not tackle him for the game, that is fine by me.

Win or lose (God I hope we win), BOD is and will forever be one of the greatest servants to Irish sport. A man who refuses to give up, defies gravity and whose very presence on a field drives the team. The fairytale of a try against Warren Gatland's Wales did not materialise, the Welsh Kiwi hybrid cemented his place on many the hate mail list by dropping the great man for the last Lion's test.

O'Driscoll, who will gain his 131st cap on Saturday was sick with a bug in the build up to the game, even sitting out training. You get the feeling that even with a broken leg, he'd be playing.

Naysayers have claimed that this swansong season is overly indulgent. I disagree. No, he isn’t as quick as he once was but the man is 35, he has put his body on the line time and time again for his country, what do you expect? There is a campaign to have a statue of O' Driscoll on Grafton Street; I don't think this goes far enough. For all his performances, if he wants to sit on the top of Grafton Street, in a thrown, I shall bow down, as all rugby fans should. (Forgive my adoring praise)

For the last time going into a game against England, Brian, thanks for the memories and In BOD We Trust.

Follow Darragh on Twitter: @DarraghMowlds.