Game time key says BOD

Lions legend Brian O'Driscioll admits he is in need of match action before the World Cup. [more]

Game time key says BOD

Lions legend Brian O’Driscioll admits he is in need of match action before the World Cup.

O’Driscoll missed Saturday’s narrow defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield with a neck and shoulder injury.

The Leinster centre has declared himself ready to face France in Bordeaux this weekend but it is unlikely he will be risked until the return fixture in Dublin a week later.

"I'm feeling pretty fit – when I get into the pitch I'll be ready for it," said O’Driscoll, who took part in his third Lions tour two summers ago.

"It's rare enough as an older-generation player that you're 100% fit – there's always something niggling.

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"I'm in as much need of match practice as any other player. Until I get to play a few games I won't really be at full speed.

"It's tough to sit out an international, whether that's because you've been injured or you haven't been selected. You want to be out there while there's someone else on the pitch in your number jersey hoping to impress the coaches."

Irelandtravel to France having come close to beating the Scots in the first of four World Cup warm-up games before a last-gasp try from Joe Ansbro gave the hosts a 10-6 victory.

But while defeat was ultimately disappointing, O’Driscoll saw plenty of positives from the performance of an Ireland side missing a whole host of star names.

"The guys did extremely well," added O’Driscoll, who was joined by the likes of fellow Lions Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, David Wallace, Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip on the absentee list.

"We were a bit disappointed with our attacking options but defensively, other than the score at the end, we were very solid.

"There were some huge positives to take out of the game and some guys put their hands up and caused some serious headaches for Declan Kidney."

Ireland now turn their attentions to back-to-back clashes with the French as they look to learn the lessons from their disappointing World Cup campaign in 2007.

Widely tipped as potential semi-finalists four years ago, Eddie O’Sullivan’s men were undercooked when they arrived at the last global gathering, with the end result being an early exit after defeats to France and Argentina in the group stages.

O’Driscoll insists the preparations this time around will be far more substantial, starting with a stiff test on French soil this Saturday.

"On Saturday we'll get exactly what we always do from French teams.

"They are very physical and when they get that front foot ball they're a very difficult team to contain. A lot of it will be about trying to be physical.

"A big aspect of this World Cup and the warm-up games will be the breakdown. It will be about who wins the collisions and who gets quick ruck ball because that's the be-all and end-all of the game these days.

"If you create quick ruck ball defences don't have time to realign, which is how you score tries and get line breaks. There will be an onus on all sides to get the breakdown work spot on.

"These games are very important. It was well documented that we weren't match hardened four years ago.

"As a result of that we stumbled in the first few games. We want to make sure we are raring to go when we take on the USA in the first game.

"Everyone in the 30 will need some pitch time so that they're ready to be called up if need be."

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