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Saturday 23 September 2017

Win it for Brian, Bowe tells lads

Fans facing big test over who to support

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

LIONS winger Tommy Bowe has insisted that his teammates must clinch the series today for sidelined Brian O'Driscoll.

The Ulster and Ireland star revealed that the centre had delivered an inspirational address despite the massive disappointment of being dropped.

"For someone to take such a knock like that – I think someone said it was his first time being dropped," Bowe said.

"But he trained with the team yesterday, he spoke up, he told us exactly what it meant to him again.

"Everybody knows the disappointment (but) it's a huge motivation for us to go out and do the job for him as well."

Fellow Irishman and Lions out-half Jonny Sexton also pledged to win it for BOD along with injured lock Paul O'Connell.

STORMY

"Hopefully we can win a Test series for him (O'Driscoll). He has been trying for a long time and not got one yet," said Sexton.

Their comments should help galvanise support for the Lions, whose Irish fans face a test of their own – between the rugby heart and the rugby head.

The dropping of O'Driscoll for the final Test continues to provoke stormy reaction, and Irish fans would be forgiven for feeling a twinge of doubt today.

Smarting that their hero and talisman has been humiliated, they are raging for revenge against Lion's coach Warren Gatland.

Some would even love the New Zealander to get his comeuppance with the Aussies giving his team a good trouncing.

In Kiely's pub, one of Dublin's most iconic drinking hostelries, this great divide was reflected in the mood of many customers.

"It breaks my heart to say it – but I will be rooting for Australia to win,'' said Billy Osbourne, from Mount Merrion.

"What Gatland did to BOD was unforgivable. It makes no sense on a rugby level or on a human level. I hope the Irish guys on the team all have a great game. But I'll be cheering for Australia and I'll be doing it in public.''

However, his friend Roger O'Hara, from Ballsbridge, had a different view.

"I just couldn't bring myself not to will the Lions to win. The very essence of sport is that come what may, you always support your own team."

However, Facebook page 'Justice For BOD' has collected nearly 120,000 likes in two days.

The ante was upped even further yesterday when Lions legtend Ian McGeechan said he would have picked him for today's match. "He is a great leader. I worry that the Lions will miss that sort of influence," he said.

See sport: Pages 65-72

Irish Independent

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