Saturday 16 December 2017

O'Brien: I'm not relying on Warburton's injury

 

'O'Brien is competing directly for the No 7 shirt and is backing himself to hit the ground running and make the Test side on his own merits in two weeks' time.' Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
'O'Brien is competing directly for the No 7 shirt and is backing himself to hit the ground running and make the Test side on his own merits in two weeks' time.' Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Christchurch

Seán O'Brien says he is not relying on Sam Warburton's injury issues in his mission for Lions Test team selection and has put his hand up to play across the back-row if Warren Gatland requires it.

The Lions captain misses this morning's clash with the Crusaders due to an ankle injury, but is expected to return in one of the two games next week.

O'Brien is competing directly for the No 7 shirt and is backing himself to hit the ground running and make the Test side on his own merits in two weeks' time. He is one of the last 11 players to start a game on this year's tour at Rugby Park in Christchurch against the unbeaten Crusaders having not played since April 1 due to a calf injury.

And he believes his period out will stand to him in his bid to claim a starting spot against New Zealand in two weeks' time.

"Any opportunity I'm given I'm going to do what I can do," he said. "I'm not going to be banking on Sam being injured or not, I'm going to try and play my game and hopefully that's good enough to be selected. There's three positions I'm battling for, so the odds are a little bit better in that sense. Obviously, Warby is captain but as you've seen a few years ago anything can happen and it's about putting your best foot forward and making sure your hand is up for selection.

"That's what I want to do, I want to be in the Test side; as does every other player. That's just the nature of it. You need one if not two games to get match-fit.

"I've trained incredibly hard over the last six weeks and I feel great. I just want to play now. These games are that bit quicker, so that will stand to me too."

Irish Independent

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