Q: Who was your most frustrating opponent/player?
GD: They generally tend to be 7's and 9's. 7's are usually the fittest guys on the pitch and always seem to be at or near the ball before you. Richie always ranks up there; Serge Betsen and Neil Back are not too far behind. 9's tend to just never shut up and have that unique way of getting under your skin, Morgan Para and Justin Marshal top the list.
BO'D: I try not get too frustrated by any player but I have had some great tussles throughout the years with some individuals. Yannick Jauzion of France was always an incredibly tough opponent. Tim Horan, whom I'm got my first cap against, was also a serious handful even in the start of his career.
Q: How much does team cohesion off the field contribute to a successful team?
GD: This is one of the great intangibles. How important is it, how do you get it, how to you maintain it? Players have to strive together to succeed and each individual has to commit to the ethos of the team, for example New Zealand winning with back to back Rugby World Cup.
BO'D: Massively-investing time in one another off the pitch is crucial to building relationships.
Q: Where do you think Richie McCaw sits in the history books?
GD: He is one of the most influential players ever. I’ve asked loads of people about him and his virtues were sung from the roof tops, both his leadership and his ability as a player. He was the modern game’s perfect 7. I’ll pay him the best Irish complement; he was the New Zealand Paul O’Connell.
BO'D: On the front page!
Q: Biggest regret if any?
GD: Not beating New Zealand in November 2013. That game took me a long time to get over, but I look back at it with fonder memories now. I played against the best and had my best game at 33yrs of age.
BO'D: Not beating the All Blacks and never getting beyond a quarter final in the RWC.
Q: What is the achievement you’re most proud of?
GD: Getting my first cap will always be a highlight for me and winning the ’09 grand slam from the rugby side. I recently became a father and this is one of the proudest moments to date. I enjoyed my rugby career and ended on my terms- I don’t think I could have asked for more than that.
BO'D: Easy answer - marrying my very easy-going wife and having two great kids.
Q: Why do you think there were no Northern Hemisphere teams in the recent RWC semi-finals?
GD: There is a natural skill gap between the hemispheres and I think this gap has gotten bigger in recent years. The amount of foreigners playing in all leagues in the Northern Hemisphere is great for the club game but the net effect on international game is detrimental to closing the gap.
BO'D: Small margins in games. Wales for me were potential RWC finalists if they hadn't been riddled with injuries. Scotland, even though there weren't better than Aussie, should have gotten there on the day and Ireland can't deal with five key players being out of the starting 15. France was awful at the RWC but also came up against comfortably the best team in it.
Q: Keeping fit or enjoying being able to eat and drink to your heart’s content? What are you looking forward to after rugby?
GD: Not being sore all the time. Not many centres will play as long as I did, and not many are my size. A decade or so of tackling Ma'a Nonu and other enormous ball carriers coming down my channel has left its mark. I’m still getting my head around having a beer after work!
BO'D: It's a big balance right now. Harder to say no to a beer at night when you've no reason to deny yourself. On the flip side no one wants to see an overweight ex-athlete, particularly their wife.
Q: Why do you think Irish and Kiwis seem to bond better than most rugby nations?
GD: Irish and Kiwis don’t have too many airs & graces, we play the game and get on with it and we always enjoy a beer! Plus everyone loves the Irish I guess.
BO'D: Easy going demeanours.
Interviewed by Ben Willis from Orb Medical