Umaga: Time to move on from O'Driscoll tackle

Tana Umaga (AFP)
Tana Umaga (AFP)

Cape town - Tana Umaga fears the controversy around the tackle that put Brian O'Driscoll out of the 2005 British and Irish Lions series may never end.

Umaga and Keven Mealamu's spear tackle a minute into the first All Blacks Test against the Lions in 2005 left the tourists' captain and talisman with a tour-ending shoulder injury.

Twelve years on and the spotlight is still on Umaga, who has moved from centre to Super Rugby mentor at the Blues with his side facing off against the Lions on Wednesday.

Both Mealamu and Umaga insist they never intended to cause injury to O'Driscoll with accusations and recriminations flying around.

Mealamu recently admitted he still 'feels a stink' 12 years on but Umaga is of the belief that people should move on from the incident.

"That was 12 years ago, if people can't put it behind them I suppose they never will," Umaga told the Press Association, ahead of the Blues hosting the Lions in Auckland on Wednesday.

"It's not about that time now. It's about this group now and against the Lions and hopefully the memories they make that are positive ones - and we just move on from that."

The former All Blacks captain has told his Blues squad to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of facing a Lions side that only tours New Zealand every 12 years.

"It's a great opportunity and for our guys to be involved in something pretty special," said Umaga.

Following Saturday's underwhelming 13-7 win over the New Zealand Provincia Barbarians, the Lions are already at the receiving end of intense scrutiny. 

"We've talked about that, the media has got on the back of the Lions," said Umaga.

"But that's what happens, especially with a juggernaut like that. There's big expectation for them but we've got big expectation on ourselves too. They will want a more polished performance but we just have to keep the pressure on them."

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