Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll has hinted that the 2013 tour to Australia may not be the end of his career ambitions.
The Ireland centre is aiming for a fourth Lions adventure after featuring in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
O’Driscoll has tasted plenty of success in recent years having picked up a Grand Slam with Ireland and three Heineken Cup crowns with Leinster in the last four seasons and he claims to be enjoying his rugby as much as ever.
And although the 33-year-old was written off by numerous critics after spending much of last season on the sidelines with a neck and shoulder injury, he insists he has made no plans to retire any time soon.
“I've absolutely no idea (when I'm retiring). I'm enjoying it at the moment and I feel fit. I'll worry about other years later on or early next year,” O’Driscoll told the Irish Daily Star.
“I feel good and I feel sharp. I had a really good pre-season with very few niggles to slow me down.
“You get a taste for success and having success brings out your competitiveness more than anything.
“I had to wait a long time for success: prior to 2009 I hadn’t won anything other than a few Triple Crowns and a Celtic League. Yes it was silverware but it wasn’t the silverware I was really after.
“Then having won a Grand Slam and three Heinekens it makes things look a lot rosier on the trophy front. But it is the enjoyment coming in everyday that is the motivating factor.”
O’Driscoll spent the end of last season playing alongside All Black second row Brad Thorn – an experience that he says taught him an invaluable lesson.
The giant dual-code international won a World Cup winners’ medal at the age of 36 and then guided Leinster to a Heineken Cup hat-trick after joining from Japanese side Fukuoka Sanix Blues on a short-term contract.
Thorn is almost exactly four years older than the 2005 Lions skipper yet he was never left lacking in the physical stakes during his time in Ireland.
The former Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Crusaders star was meticulous in his pre and post-match routines and O’Driscoll has already begun to follow suit in order to prolong his own career at the top level.
“You get inspiration in different ways, you get inspired by different guys that you train with,” added O’Driscoll, whose current deal with the Irish Rugby Union ends this summer.
“Last year with Brad Thorn I learned huge amounts about being professional and about trying to keep the body limbered as much as you can.
“Any opportunity he had he was always stretching and I’ve taken to doing that as much as I can. Now I might go to the gym and stretch a bit, or cycle for a bit on my day off.
"I just watched what Brad was about really, more than what he said. He looks after himself incredibly well and he is the consummate professional.
"I think if you can make the small percentages of difference in everything you do, with recovery, with diet, with training, with stretching, with everything, it gives you more chance to be in the right condition to play, provided you are mentally still there."