O’Driscoll ready for ferocious Samoans

Lions legend Brian O'Driscoll has warned Ireland to expect a ferocious battle against Samoa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. [more]

O’Driscoll ready for ferocious Samoans

Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll has warned Ireland to expect a ferocious battle against Samoa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.


With the likes of Alesana Tuilagi and Seilala Mapusua within their ranks the South Sea Islanders are renowned for their bone-crunching tackling.

And O’Driscoll, a veteran of three Lions tours in 2001, 2005 and 2009, has warned his teammates to front up to the typically physical Samoa team while insisting the men in green can exploit any Samoans flying out of the defensive line.

"We don't have a huge amount of footage on Samoa but we do know some of their personnel, particularly the guys playing in England," said O’Driscoll.

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"The one thing you get with Pacific islands teams is huge physicality. Their players are capable of putting a hole in you if you run directly at them.

"That being said, you must be aware of the shooters that can come out of their defence on occasion. Sometimes you have to play smarter, if their line speed is huge then play the ball behind them.

"But at the same time we shouldn't be afraid to play if the conditions allow us to."

O’Driscoll leads an Irish side full of changes but testament to their strength in depth there is only one new cap, towering second row Devin Toner.

O'Driscoll is more than familiar with the 6ft 10in giant, with both players at Leinster, and the Lion has sung the praises of his provincial teammate.  

Everyone talks about Devin's line-out prowess but he has really come to the fore as a ball-carrier," continued O’Driscoll.

"You trust your front five to be the workhorses of the team and he's bought into that in a big way. It's a fantastic opportunity for him to come in and stake a claim for a spot. It's fully deserved.

"People have to do their apprenticeships and Dev has done that by coming through the grade levels. I'll tell him that he's been picked because of his provincial form, so back yourself with that.

"Don't play differently because you're pulling on an international jersey. It will probably be the proudest moment of his life, but once the whistle blows it's the same size pitch with the same number of players.

"The intensity will be a bit higher and he'll know that from the kick-off, but you get into things very quickly. The first cap passes you by very quickly so you have to enjoy it as much as possible. Hopefully the team will give him a winning start."

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