independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Returning Brian O'Driscoll ready for 'great honour' of leading Lions

Leading man? Brian O'Drsicoll could become only the second man, after Martin Johnson, to captain two Lions tours. Photo: Getty Images

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL is ready to captain the Lions once again if he is asked to take the mantle by Warren Gatland next summer.

The Ireland captain skippered the touring party on their disastrous 2005 tour of New Zealand, but his trip was cut short in the opening minutes of the first Test when he dislocated his shoulder after a controversial 'spear tackle' by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu.

O'Driscoll (above) returned to the famous red jersey for his third tour in 2009, but not as captain, starting the first two Test defeats to South Africa before going home injured.

The 33-year-old, who returned to training on Monday after ankle surgery, is being widely tipped to lead the touring party on his fourth and final tour. Having never won a series, he wants to finish his Lions career with a victory.

"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," he said.

"It's too great an honour to contemplate saying no, but there are so many names 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 who is guaranteed to be starting.

"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 in going.

"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 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."

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