O’Driscoll puts tackle behind him

Brian O'Driscoll has sought closure on the Tana Umaga spear-tackle controversy which clouded last week's second Test build-up. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Brian O’Driscoll has sought closure on the Tana Umaga spear-tackle controversy which clouded last week’s second Test build-up.

New Zealand captain Umaga escaped censure following the incident, which left his opposite British & Irish Lions number nursing a dislocated shoulder and reflecting on a personal Test campaign which lasted less than two minutes.

"Once I had an apology of sorts from Tana, and once I had spoken to him, as far as I was concerned the matter was cleared up," said O’Driscoll.

"I’ve been the culprit of some bad tackles in my time, too, and I think once you accept responsibility for it, you have just got to get on with it.

"I don’t think off the pitch, my relationship or my friendship with Tana will be changed in any shape or form. I will still go and have a drink with him after a game, and just carry on as normal.

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"I still respect him hugely as a rugby player, so I think what goes on on the pitch is very separate to how you carry on off it."

O’Driscoll, his right shoulder still in a sling, will return home next week to face the prospect of surgery and a lengthy lay-off from rugby.

"It hasn’t been finalised, but I think I am going to get operated on a couple of days after we get back, and then it is between three and five months as the norm in terms of recovery," he added.

He hopes to be involved in Ireland’s autumn Test series – which features a Dublin appointment with the All Blacks – but realistically, the Leinster star might not play again before Christmas.

O’Driscoll will remain with the Lions squad, giving his captaincy successor Gareth Thomas encouragement from the sidelines as Sir Clive Woodward’s tourists strive to avoid a series whitewash at Eden Park in Auckland next Saturday.

"It was hard to watch," said O’Driscoll, recalling the 48-18 second Test reversal.

"It is always difficult watching games that you feel you could have been part of. It is so much harder watching, than playing.

"It is the best I have seen the All Blacks play in a long time. I think that when you play against them you have got to try and chip away leads against them and try and take their confidence away, because when they get into that inspired form, there is no stopping them.

"They breed on confidence, and passes start to stick, which is exactly what happened in the latter stages of the second half.

"We didn’t play badly, it is just that they played extremely well. Occasionally, you come up against teams like that, and you have to hold your hand up.

"This week is going to be a test of our characters, but the guys who will go out there on Saturday still have a great point to prove. The All Blacks aren’t invincible, and I still think we can up our performance from Saturday," he added.

"All I can do is continue to encourage and wish the boys well and ensure everyone’s spirits are high, particularly in this situation, because spirits can drop in the last week.

"It is a matter of realising there is only one more week to go, and we have got to dig in. Pride becomes a big factor now."

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