Saturday 21 April 2018

Brian O'Driscoll bites back in Lions surf spat

Woodward criticism brushed off as players enjoy break

Simon Zebo rides the waves ahead of the Test series decider on Saturday
Simon Zebo rides the waves ahead of the Test series decider on Saturday
Conor Murray
Brian O'Driscoll
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL has defended the British and Irish Lions squad's stopover at an Australian holiday resort ahead of Saturday's Test series decider in Sydney.

Coach Warren Gatland's players are currently on a three-day retreat in Noosa, north of Brisbane, to recuperate after last weekend's loss against the Wallabies.

They were spotted surfing the waves on Sunday and enjoyed an afternoon of jet skiing at the beach yesterday.

O'Driscoll (33), who is in line to captain the side this weekend, insisted the players were using the few days to get "body and mind" in the right place.

"We have not come up here to Queensland's Sunshine Coast to be tourists ... We have come north to this holiday resort to get body and mind in just the right place," the Leinster centre said.

"We would have been here no matter what the results. Noosa will be good for us. We are living in a goldfish bowl. When it is all-consuming, it is nice to be able to step away from it, particularly after the two Tests."

His comments came after former Lions coach Clive Woodward's criticism of the trip. Woodward said he felt it was not the proper way to prepare for the final Test. "These guys are battered and bruised but you do not need to fly to Noosa to get some rest and rehabilitation. It is the last place I would take the team," said Woodward.

"You have to lick your wounds and feel sorry for yourself for 24 hours and then get to Sydney to prepare for the biggest match of your lives," Woodward said.

Tickets sales for the third and final Test against Australia have soared, with supporters offering up to €1,200 to secure a seat in Sydney's ANZ stadium.

O'Driscoll said that taking a well-deserved rest from the training ground would prove advantageous come Saturday.

"You have got only so much in the bank, you cannot keep hammering away doing the same level of training or you will fall flat on your face at the weekend. We found out that in 2001 when we were flogged. No one is going to switch off in Noosa, but we are going to recharge."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport