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O'Driscoll says he is ready to lead Lions to Australia

Date

Brendan Gallagher

Irish centre says 'it would be impossible to turn down' the chance to be captain on tour to Australia.

Fourth time lucky ... Brian O'Driscoll has yet to win a series with the Lions.

Fourth time lucky ... Brian O'Driscoll has yet to win a series with the Lions. Photo: Getty Images

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll will move heaven and earth to win a place on the Lions tour but has no interest in touring if it means leaving Australia a "loser" again.

The greatest centre of the modern era turns 34 next month and is recovering from ankle surgery. The only reason he is prepared to go to the well one last time is to experience his first series win as a Lions player and to help the famous touring team to their first victorious trip since 1997.

O'Driscoll, who also says he would be happy to serve as captain again if required by coach Warren Gatland, has been on three tours and tasted defeat in five of his six Test matches. That is not a record he reflects on with any great pleasure and putting it right is high on his agenda.

"If you said you can get on the trip to Australia but you are not going to win the series I would have no interest," O'Driscoll said in Leicester last night, where he was starring in An Audience With TV special to be broadcast over Christmas. "I have already done three tours. The only reason to go on another Lions trip would be to win the series, to do something that I haven't experienced before.

"I've been to Australia before, I've seen a lot of the route and I've seen the all places. It's great but I can go on my holidays and do that. It's all about winning the series.

"I don't want to go on four Lions tours and win none of them. People don't remember losing Lions tours, they only remember winning tours. Different guys will go at different stages of their careers and some will enjoy the excitement of a first trip, but I don't need any more experience, I just want to win one. And the Lions need to win one. They are wonderful trips but they are unsustainable if you go time and time again and the home nation always wins.

"It's such a difficult thing in the modern era and that's not to take away to the tours in the Seventies, and even prior to that. Now it's much more compact and the teams you play are more organised. This series is very winnable whatever team goes down there, but it's very losable too."

O'Driscoll's hunger will be music to Gatland's ears and if fully fit, he must stand every chance of one final Lions hurrah in Australia after a career which started gloriously there in 2001 when he scored one of the best tries of his career in a sensational 29-13 win in the first Test at the Gabba. Since then, though, he has endured much less happy times.

Martin Johnson's side slipped to a 2-1 defeat in that series and then O'Driscoll was carried out of the 2005 tour he was captaining to New -Zealand on a stretcher with a -dislocated shoulder when he was the victim of the notorious spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu 40 seconds into the first Test.

In 2009, after captaining Ireland to a Grand Slam, O'Driscoll enjoyed a more relaxed role as the senior pro behind the scrum in South Africa, with Paul O'Connell taking on the captaincy. The Lions contributed fully to a superb series, but they still lost, and O'Driscoll's participation ended midway through the second Test when he knocked himself out -making a thunderous tackle on Danie -Rossouw.

And 2013? One thing is for certain, if he is considered to be playing well enough to tour he must be one of the front-runners for the captaincy, in which case he would join Johnson as the only man to do the job twice.

"Having been captain on a tour, then toured when I'm not captain, I can tell you it is very different," O'Driscoll said. "There is a lot of pressure as the Lions skipper. It was a lot more relaxing just being another player in South Africa, I was able to enjoy it and there was less scrutiny than there had been in New Zealand.

"Paul did a good job in 2009, but we fell short as a team. Whoever does the job this time has to use the leadership group around him. There will be some guys who have been on previous tours and it is important to get them working for the captain. The key is that there is a tight-knit squad with a common goal, whatever the individual highs and lows along the way.

"It would be impossible to turn down the opportunity if I was asked to be captain again, even though there are huge stresses that go with it. So many names are being bandied around at the moment that I genuinely don't take much heed.

"Your captain needs to be starting in the Test team, and it is difficult to say at this stage that there is anyone in Britain and Ireland who is guaranteed to be starting."

The Telegraph, London

Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58 vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42 vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32 vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18 vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25 vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46 vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22 vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33 vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20 vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24 vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5 vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32 vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17 vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31 vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35 vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25 vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36 vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10 vs RED 32 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 42 vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27 vs WAR 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20 vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 21 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
BLU 11 vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3 vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33 vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19 vs LIO 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 7 vs HIG 44 Report Stats
REB 11 vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24 vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13 vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31 vs RED 5 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 29 vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34 vs STO 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
HIG 24 vs CHF 14 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19 vs BRU 39 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29 vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17 vs HIG 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14 vs HIG 21 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
View all
 

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