British & Irish Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll has hit out at the "cheap shot" from New Zealand duo Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu which ended his tour – and claimed they could have broken his neck.
The Irish midfield star suffered a dislocated shoulder inside the first 90 seconds of the opening Test match against the All Blacks in Christchurch when the All Black pair appeared to double spear-tackle him.
The Lions management have lodged a complaint with citing commissioner Willem Venter about the challenge, and O’Driscoll was shocked at what happened to him.
"I am in no doubt whatever that it was deliberate foul play, a double spearing. It was a cheap shot which has put me out of the tour," he said.
"But the truth is it could have been an awful lot worse because they could have quite easily broken my neck. I was turned upside down, in the air and speared into the ground.
"I tackled one of their players and then a ruck formed. I was pushing against Jerry Collins and two guys came in, they had a leg each, I got turned around in the air and speared into the ground. I knew straight away that it was serious.
"I had this searing pain that just wouldn’t go away, I have never had a dislocated shoulder before so I did not know that is what it was, but I knew instantly that I was out of the game.
"I can hardly believe that I put so much into this and just got over a minute of play in a Test match.
"I have worked so hard for so long to get to this and to have it taken away by such a cheap shot leaves a really nasty feeling. I am really shocked that Umaga did that."
O’Driscoll was speaking as he sat with his parents and other family members at the team hotel in Christchurch, where earlier he attended the post-match meeting with all members of the Lions party.
He said: "It is very hard to describe any emotion at the moment. I just cannot put it into words. I am angry because it was such a cheap shot. It was one of the most dangerous things that you can do in our game. It is why spear tackling is banned."
In O’Driscoll’s absence the Lions lost 21-3 as Ali Williams and Sitiveni Sivivatu both touched down for the All Blacks.