O’Driscoll’s love of Oz

Brian O'Driscoll admits he loves touring Australia more than any other nation in the world but his enjoyment will be severely tempered if his latest adventure doesn't end with a series win. [more]

O’Driscoll’s love of Oz

Brian O’Driscoll admits he loves touring Australia more than any other nation in the world but his enjoyment will be severely tempered if his latest adventure doesn’t end with a series win.

O’Driscoll will captain The British & Irish Lions in their opening fixture on Australian soil later today as the Western Force provide the opposition in Perth.

The veteran Irish centre made his Lions debut in the same city some 12 years ago, playing out of position at full back but scoring his side’s final try in a 116-10 victory over a weak Western Australia outfit.

He went on to start all three Tests against the Wallabies on his first Lions tour, with his sublime solo score in the opening rubber at The Gabba ranking as one of the highlights of a stellar career to date.

The 34-year-old has always loved the unique challenge of taking on Aussie sides, as well as the joys associated with travelling around such a beautiful country, but he is now desperate to ensure Australia provides his crowning glory in a red shirt.

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“I enjoy the country, the people and the big mixture to Australia,” said O’Driscoll.

“I enjoy the weather and I enjoy playing against some of the top opposition.

“When you play Australia and Australian teams you have to really try and outthink them. That is another factor to the game besides trying to outmuscle them and being more physical than them. You need to be tactically astute, both in attack and defence.

“All of those things make touring Australia an exciting proposition.

“I have fond memories of some good days some, and not so good days. Some of my best memories of rugby are from playing against Australia and in Australia.

“I got my first cap against Australia in ‘99 playing against a couple of heroes of mine, particularly in Tim Horan. To be a 20-year-old playing against guys of that calibre was pretty nerve-wracking but pretty exciting.

“I haven't lost any of the buzz about pulling on the Lions shirt, but it's one thing doing that and another thing doing what we're here to do. None of us in this squad has won a series as a Lion.”

Changing that stat will take a monumental effort given that the last three Lions tours have ended in series defeat but the key for O’Driscoll is that the hard work has already started.

The 2001, 2005 and 2009 tourist knows better than anyone else in the party that starting strongly and continually raising the bar along the way is absolutely vital if the class of 2013 are to return home as heroes.

And with a convincing opening win in Hong Kong already in the bank, O’Driscoll will be telling tonight’s troops that they have to kick on and take The Lions to the next level here at Patersons Stadium.

“You tend not to be able to tip away and then get to the Test series and be phenomenal – that’s a rarity,” added O’Driscoll.

“We have to build our levels of ruthlessness. We have to make ourselves difficult to beat.

“That’s very difficult if you’re stuttering and starting in the first five or six games.

“You’ve got to really work towards building your game plan, building your defensive system, building your picking game and all the different dimensions of your game so that, when you do get to the Tests, they’re at a very high level and you’re able to try and kick it on to the next level.”

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