Monday 18 December 2017

Bowe: BOD is still an inspiration to us

Tommy Bowe after last week's game
Tommy Bowe after last week's game

Andrew Baldock

Tommy Bowe has hailed the impact of his fellow Irishman Brian O'Driscoll on preparations for tomorrow's third Test showdown against Australia.

O'Driscoll was unexpectedly dropped from the starting line-up, with head coach Warren Gatland preferring an all-Welsh midfield combination of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts.

In leaving out the 34-year-old, Gatland also effectively ended his four-tour Lions career, causing an outcry from many former players, current pundits and the general public on social media websites.

But Lions wing Bowe revealed today that O'Driscoll has still played a key role in gearing up the Lions for the Test series decider.

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

"Everybody knows the disappointment he has for not being involved.

"But for a guy like that, who has such a presence around the squad, for him to really be rallying around the team, to really want us to push on to win the series, it's a huge motivation for us to go out and do the job for him as well.

"It would be very easy for him to go off tour now, but he was there training yesterday and he was there first thing this morning. He wants us to win for the Lions more than anything.

"There is a huge amount of emotion in the squad at the moment. We realise it has been 16 years since we last won a Lions series. There is incredible hype and excitement surrounding this last match - so many people hope we can finish it off.

"A 2-0 win would have been amazing, but instead we suffered the disappointment of losing a try in last six minutes last weekend.

"It was heartbreaking but we've dealt with it, we've regrouped and we will make sure we leave everything out there on the pitch tomorrow."

Bowe played for the Lions in South Africa four years ago when they suffered a 2-1 series loss. This time around, though, the Lions are still alive and kicking after two games.

"I just remember the disappointment of it all," he said.

"I remember the disappointment of the second Test when we lost to that last kick (a Morne Steyn penalty). I just hope it doesn't come down to that again.

"For us, there is no real feeling like it's the last game of the season. Tomorrow is a do-or-die match and we are fully up for it."

The Lions, though, will need to improve on their performance in Melbourne. They were undone by a late converted try, but there was little seen from the tourists as an attacking force.

"If we can play rugby we can do a lot of damage, certainly with a lot of the players we've got in this team," Bowe said.

"There are huge ball carriers there. If we can hold on to the ball, keep battering over the top of the Aussies, hopefully it will cause a bit of damage.

"There is a bit of pressure for us. We have one game left, the last game of the season, and to win would go down in history.

"The players are going out there thinking it doesn't have to be the prettiest match. We can win by 20 points or by one point, it doesn't matter. What a major reward it would be for us to win.

"You could see how much it meant to them (Australia) when they won last weekend. They were jumping on each other. You could see from their emotion how tough they found that week having lost the first match.

"We feel a little bit how they did after the first week. There is a lot of emotion within the team at the moment after we lost last weekend, and we are going to come with everything tomorrow."

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