Shanklin, the man who turned down England to play for Wales, has spent the RBS Six Nations quietly but efficiently getting on with his job in the shadow of tabloid favourite and midfield partner Gavin Henson. The English-born son of former Wales winger Jim Shanklin knows that all eyes will be on him this weekend to see whether he can pass his biggest test yet by halting the seemingly unstoppable O'Driscoll rated by some pundits as the best centre the game has ever seen.
"O'Driscoll is probably Ireland's biggest attacking threat," said Shanklin. "He's a great player and when he turns it on, he really does so with some style. He is certainly performing consistently performing well for Ireland and seems to pull something out of the bag whenever Ireland need some magic.
"Ireland were struggling for a while against Italy but he proved what a class player he is by changing the game single-handedly. Again against France he looked to have swung the game in Ireland's favour with a brilliant try.
"He is the star man and if we can keep him quiet then I think we'll go some way towards winning. He's also part of a solid backline. They've been together for four or five years now and so there's a real understanding between them. There's plenty of experience throughout and that's why Ireland will probably be our biggest challenge yet.
"They are probably stronger all round than the other sides in the competition. Up front they can dominate while they have guys behind who can cut through defences. Added to that they will also be desperate to win on Saturday. A second Triple Crown in a row is still there for them and they will be intent on stopping us winning the Grand Slam because that was their original goal."
Wales, however, will have a rugby mad nation willing them to clinch a first Grand Slam in twenty-seven years following their triumph over England in Cardiff and three back to back victories on the road against Italy, France and, most recently, Scotland.
Combine that with England's recent fall from grace and Shanklin has never regretted saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to Clive Woodward, and opting to play for the land of his father Jim, who scored against Ireland in Wales's 16-12 win in Cardiff in 1973.
He said: "I was at Saracens at the time and Clive called me completely out of the blue to ask if I wanted to come along to England training. The word must have got around because within days, Graham Henry rang and invited me to play for Wales A in the Six Nations. It was very flattering but there really wasn't a difficult decision.
"My father obviously wanted me to play for Wales but I had grown up there as well, my family all live in the west of the country and I had Welsh blood inside me."
Shanklin, a no-frills but no-nonsense centre, has firmly established himself in the Wales set-up, scoring eight tries in the four-match Autumn series as a winger before switching to his regular position in midfield following the injury to New Zealand-born Sonny Parker.
Shanklin adds: "I could not really have asked for more this season. The Wales camp is such a great place to be at the moment, confidence is high and the self-belief is there."
Now, there is only a man called O'Driscoll between Shanklin and a Grand Slam.