Brian O’Driscoll turns 30 on Wednesday, January 21 and the good news for British & Irish Lions head coach Ian McGeechan is that he still has his sights firmly fixed on winning a Test series with the tourists.
The Leinster and Ireland legend may well be entering his 10th season of international rugby but, as he told Johnny Watterson of the Irish Times, he still has major goals.
"I’d love to be part of a winning Lions Test team. But to be another Lions and not win, I’d take or leave," said O’Driscoll.
"I don’t want to go on a seven week tour. It’s about winning."
O’Driscoll made his Lions debut at full back against Western Australia on June 8, 2001 and went on to play six games on that tour, including three Tests.
He famously scored on his Test debut as the Lions won the opening international against the Wallabies in Brisbane, although that was his last triumph. The Lions lost the next two Tests, and the series, and he was injured while leading the 2005 Lions in the first Test of the 3-0 reverse against the All Blacks.
"I’ve 88 Irish caps, 115 or 120 Leinster caps. That’s not what I’m about," he said. "It’s not about picking up the numbers, one day being the most capped player and then seeing who’s going to beat you. Absolutely not – not a goal of mine.
"In years gone by I was happy to play regularly and not fully understand the disappointment of losing. I have one Magners League to my name, a couple of Triple Crowns.
"In the next number of years I really need to win to feel I’ve really fulfilled a lot of my potential."
Having lost as a Lion in 2001 & 2005, O’Driscoll is desperate to be a winner in 2009
Since making his Irish debut against Australia in Brisbane in 1999 he has captained his country more than any other player, scored more tries than anyone else and is on course to become the first 100 cap Irishman.
"I don’t think I had the spatial awareness back then, the where to attack, the know-how in games, the way to defend, times to pressure," he added.
"I’m a very different player and whether I’m better or worse, well that’s people’s opinions. I mightn’t break the line as many times as I did in the past, but I feel I still have the capabilities to break a game.
"I don’t care to be the best in the world anymore. What I care to be is a real quality player. That’s life. I’m a changed player.
"The thing about rugby is that confidence is bordering on arrogance. Arrogance is perceived as a nasty word.
"You can be arrogant on a pitch with your talent provided your personality doesn’t show it. At times I can be arrogant on a pitch in the way I play. That’s not about rubbing people’s faces in it."