Lions hungry for first win

Brian O'Driscoll (AP Photo)
Brian O'Driscoll (AP Photo)

Brisbane - Rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll, who is taking part in his fourth tour with the British and Irish Lions, said he is driven by the desire for his first series victory and urged the team to start on the front foot.

The Irish centre is the second most capped player in rugby union history with 131 Test appearances - 125 for Ireland and six with the Lions - and the game's joint-seventh highest Test try scorer on 47, but a Lions series win has so far eluded him.

As his distinguished career winds down, the 34-year-old, only the third player in 125 years of British and Irish Lions history to take part in a fourth tour, desperately wants to leave Australia in just over two weeks celebrating a series triumph.

O'Driscoll is the sole survivor of the last Lions tour to Australia in 2001, when his outstanding individual try set up the tourists' 29-13 win in the opening Brisbane Test.

But the Wallabies came from behind to take the series in a 29-23 decider in Sydney. And O'Driscoll has lost his last five Test matches in the red jersey, against New Zealand and South Africa.

"I am not going to be involved in any more World Cups with Ireland, so for me the only other attainable thing that I can achieve in my career is winning a Lions series," O'Driscoll said late Friday on the eve of the first Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

"I dearly want to be part of that for my own sake but also for the Lions' sake going forward. We need to win one of these series soon and let's hope it starts tomorrow."

O'Driscoll fondly remembers the first Brisbane Test 12 years ago on his first tour with the Lions, but said he does not want to be remembered as only the third player in 125 years of Lions history to make four tours, and yet have so little to show for it.

"It's the personal high, it's the only Test match I've won in six," he said.

"It was a great day, but it is time to try and add to it. I don't want to be someone that has had a lot of appearances on Lions tours but not ultimately won a series.

"That's what it comes down to. We've talked about the tour and gelling together and everything. At the end of day this tour if we got on terribly and won I'd take that above getting on great and having great fun and losing a series.

"That's not what this is about, it's about winning the series."

O'Driscoll said he was excited to be playing behind a formidable forward pack in Saturday's Test, led by Irish teammate and former Lions skipper Paul O'Connell.

"You look at the eight individually and they are all bloody impressive players and it's exciting to be named in a team with forwards of that calibre," he said.

"I think they all bring different attributes to our game plan and I think if they all have big performances then they could do damage to any pack in the world."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has suggested Saturday's Brisbane Test will come down to a battle of wills, but O'Driscoll said there was more to it.

"I think it will be more than a battle of wills, I think it will be the battle of the breakdown," he said.

"You win the tackle contest whether you are carrying or defending and you have a good chance of winning the game and when you simplify it to that degree you understand the importance of the contact area.

"We have to go out after that tomorrow and make sure that we are able to dominate it. The rest of your game is able to play off that when you are on front foot football. We will have to play with smarts as well to get up tomorrow."

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