Life of Brian keeps getting better

It was eight years ago this month that Brian O'Driscoll made his debut for the British & Irish Lions, but the thrill of pulling on the famous combined team jersey has never faded. [more]

Life of Brian keeps getting better

It was eight years ago this month that Brian O’Driscoll made his debut for the British & Irish Lions, but the thrill of pulling on the famous combined team jersey has never faded.

He will make his 11th appearance on this his third tour when he leads the team against the Xerox Golden Lions at Coca Cola Park on Wednesday night. 

Building on Saturday’s opening victory over the Royal XV is the immediate concern, but the man who has achieved almost everything in the game is also on another mission. 

“The hunger from my point of view is that I realise I’m not going to be on another Lions tour and this is my last chance to win a Test series,” he said. 

“We have to start by building momentum in the lead up to the series and Wednesday night is the next step. 

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“It is exciting every day putting on the Lions training kit because you know you have to bring your ‘A’ game to training because of the talent that is here. That makes you a better player. 

“There are players on this tour who know how to win and it’s just a matter of building momentum for ourselves. There are World Cup winners, Grand Slammers, Heineken Cup winners and English Premiership champions in the party and when I look down the list of the team on Wednesday there is a wealth of talent and experience.” 

Everyone within the Lions camp is looking to improve on the opening day performance. The Lions trailed by 15 points at one stage in the first-half and then by 12 going into the final 15 minutes. 

“The fact we were losing by 12 points with almost as many minutes left and eventually won by 12 says something about the character of the team and players,” said O’Driscoll. 

“I always hoped I would get on this Lions tour and the captaincy aspect was something that was out of my hands. Geech went with Paul and that was, for my mind, was as good a bet as anyone. 

“I’m delighted to step in and captain the team in his absence and, hopefully, I can get another winning result. It’s exciting every time you pull on the Lions jersey and it is a massive honour to be given the captaincy for this game.” 

The last time he played he picked up a Heineken Cup winners medal with Leinster at Murrayfield two weeks ago and he will have fellow European champions Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip lining up with him on Wednesday night. 

In that game he moved to the wing for a short while after taking a knock on his shoulder, but the 30-year-old is happy with his fitness. 

“I’m as good as I have been all season. You always have bumps, bruises and niggles after games and you never finish a game 100 per cent,” he said. 

“But I have been rehabbing my injured shoulder for the last couple of weeks and I’m good to go. I’ve played 24 games this year and, touch wood, I’ve been injury free. 

"For the first year I’ve played all five Six Nations games and I haven’t had any hamstring problems. Those factors make a huge difference and you are able to get continuity of performance, which is vital.

"I’m also enjoying my rugby and it helps when you pick up some silverware. Winning does become a little bit of a habit and it’s great if you can infect a squad with that feeling.”

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