Brian O’Driscoll has warned the threat New Zealand will pose to the British & Irish Lions this summer ‘can’t be underestimated’.
The Lions face the All Blacks in three tests in June and July – and O’Driscoll is fully aware of their formidable home form.
"Everyone knows New Zealand’s reputation. They are a hard, physical side playing at home," the captain told the Western Mail.
"It’s a colossal undertaking, one that can’t be underestimated, but I think it is one all the players we are taking are up to.
"Hopefully, by the time the Tests come around, we will be up to speed and at our best. We have got plenty of time to come together and get our game going for the Test series. Those are our total focus.
"The hype down there and build-up has been talked about for the whole year. There’s still more than a month to go and the hype is getting bigger and bigger by the day.
"By the time we get to New Zealand we ought to know what we are getting into. What happens on the pitch is related to what happens off it.
"When you run on the pitch your focus should just switch on to rugby-playing matters."
O’Driscoll admits that because he had little previous captaincy experience, leading both the Lions and Ireland took some getting used to.
"When you don’t captain a lot of sides before you become international captain it doesn’t come totally naturally," he said.
"I had to grow into the job a little bit. Some aspects are a little more difficult than others. It took me some time before I became confident speaking in front of people. For example, I don’t find talking to the media as daunting as I used to do."