Lions in Australia

O'Driscoll to lead Lions

2013-06-03 09:29
Brian O'Driscoll (Getty)

Perth - Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll will lead the British and Irish Lions in their first tour game in Australia this week with skipper Sam Warburton still out with a knee injury, officials said on Monday.

Warburton, who missed the Lions' 59-8 hammering of the Barbarians in Hong Kong, remains sidelined with ligament damage despite earlier comments that he could feature against Western Force on Wednesday.

The Force are promising a physical test for the 23-man match-day squad, which contains eight Lions debutants and will not include any players who started against the Barbarians on Saturday.

The Lions are seeking their first Test series victory in 16 years, a barren spell which includes a gripping 2-1 defeat to Australia in 2001.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said with Irish centre O'Driscoll leading the side, the tourists would be ready to start their visit to Australia with a win.

"This is his fourth Lions tour and he is a respected leader," Gatland said of O'Driscoll.

Warburton was given a steroid injection in Hong Kong and ordered to rest the knee for five days after taking a knock in training 10 days earlier. He was assessed again on Sunday before making the long-haul flight to Perth.

Five of Wednesday's team - Manu Tuilagi, Sean O'Brien, Ian Evans, Dan Cole and Rory Best - will be making their Lions debuts, while six of them played off the bench against the Barbarians.

"There were a lot of positives to come out of the first match in Hong Kong," Gatland said. "Our fitness and application were excellent and we operated well in the set-pieces.

"That said, it was our first match and naturally we were a bit rusty, and there is definitely room for improvement.

"Of course this is a completely new team and the challenge is to ensure that the selected players continue the on-field progress we are seeking."

Fullback Rob Kearney has a hamstring injury and will not play against either the Force or the Reds on Saturday in Brisbane, team officials added.

Meanwhile, the Force said they are preparing to give the Lions a torrid time in their first hit-out in Australia.

Force skipper Matt Hodgson said even if his team failed to beat the Lions, they at least want to leave them with a few bumps and bruises. They will name their side on Tuesday.

"I think any loss is going to be a blow to them," Hodgson said. "They've probably come out and pencilled in victories in most of their games leading up to the Test matches.

"So if we can't get the win, we're going to give them a solid performance and hopefully hurt a few of their bodies."

Team: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 George North, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip; 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn-Jones, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healey

Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland

Read more on:    lions in oz  |  brian o'driscoll  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk


The Wallaby v British & Irish Lions series is tied at 1-1 heading into the final Test in Sydney on Saturday. Who do you foresee taking series honours?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.