O’Driscoll reveals heartbreak

Brian O'Driscoll reflected on his British & Irish Lions heartbreak after his tour of New Zealand was cruelly cut short by a dislocated shoulder. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Brian O’Driscoll reflected on his British & Irish Lions heartbreak after his tour of New Zealand was cruelly cut short by a dislocated shoulder.

While O’Driscoll faces up to possible shoulder surgery and a lengthy lay-off, All Blacks pair Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu will not be pursued over a double tackle which seriously injured the Lions skipper.

Television footage showed the pair tipping O’Driscoll headlong into the Jade Stadium turf, leaving him with a dislocated right shoulder and a Lions Test captaincy reign that lasted just 77 seconds.

Match commissioner Willem Venter decided against citing Mealamu and Umaga, leaving the matter closed.

O’Driscoll, however, is still angry about the episode.

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"Obviously, I am absolutely gutted that my tour is over. There is a huge element of frustration and anger at the way it happened," he said.

"I have no doubt whatsoever there was some sort of spear tackle that ended it. When you have worked so hard for something like that, to have a minute and 17 seconds, it doesn’t really feel justified.

"I certainly feel there was plenty in it. I have been on the receiving end before but I felt this was completely unnecessary and certainly beyond the rules and regulations of the game.

"My real disappointment was that he (Umaga) didn’t come up as I was being carried off, which I thought would just be a common courtesy between captains, whether he had been involved or not.

"It could have been a lot more serious injury. It was weird, it was one of those moments that you can see it happening. I knew I was in trouble from the moment I was up in the air.

"It was a matter of getting my head out of the way to make sure it wasn’t the part of my body that took the impact on the ground.

"If you look back, you are hugely disappointed with a shoulder dislocation, but with hindsight, it could have been worse if I had gone down on my head."

O’Driscoll vividly recalled the incident as it was confirmed he would remain on tour until its conclusion in two weeks’ time.

"Leon MacDonald (All Blacks full-back) took the ball into contact and I made some sort of tackle and had a go at the ball and didn’t get it," the Ireland centre added.

"Then a ruck formed and I actually managed to fight my way into the middle of the ruck and try to counter-ruck.

"I was pushing Jerry Collins, because he was the man at the back of the ruck, to try and disturb the scrum-half. But two guys came around, picked a leg each up in the air, and as I was up in the air, I got turned around and they pretty much finished off the tackle.

"It wasn’t a case of just dropping me, I felt there was force in it.

"I know it’s a tough sport but after a minute and 17 seconds, you can’t help but feel a little bit aggrieved at something like that happening.

"There were times after the game when I found it hard to keep the tears back. Even now, it is difficult to talk about, but I think it will sink in in a few days, the realisation that I got to captain the Lions in a Test match for just over a minute.

"I suppose I should be thankful it was a minute and not no time at all, but it is certainly disappointing for me and my family. Such is life and such is sport."

Lions head coach Woodward has installed Wales international Gareth Thomas as O’Driscoll’s captaincy successor

O’Driscoll, who could struggle to play again before Christmas, underwent a scan in Christchurch on Saturday.

It revealed significant soft tissue damage around the shoulder joint and the Lions say surgery "is likely, though not certain."

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