Thursday 26 April 2018

O'Driscoll set to lead Lions as Warburton fails to recover

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Conor George

Conor George

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL will captain the Lions in the final Test against Australia on Saturday after Sam Warburton was ruled out.

The Welsh flanker tweaked a hamstring according to coach Andy Farrell and stayed on in Melbourne yesterday for a scan while the rest of the squad flew to the holiday resort of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to recuperate.

The Lions confirmed this morning that Warburton has been ruled out of Saturday's series-deciding third test

The player had earlier insisted he will leave no stone unturned in his quest to be fit for the game.

"I've never torn a hamstring before so I don't know what the injury is or how bad it is," he said. "I'll have the scan, chat to the medics and we'll see then."

In Warburton's absence Ireland's O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell have shared the captaincy – Dan Lydiate captained the side against the Rebels on Tuesday last but none of that trio was playing – and with O'Connell also absent the honour will fall to the centre.

It's a responsibility he will easily and comfortably carry on his shoulders and, if it comes to pass, it will be an honour he richly deserves in the twilight of a glorious career. O'Driscoll was tour captain in 2005 but lasted but a minute of the Test series after being callously injured by Tana Umaga.

He assumed the captaincy when Warburton was forced from the pitch on Saturday and it will be a proud moment for him, his family and Ireland if he does lead the Lions to a first Test Series victory in 16 years.

O'Driscoll showed none of the strain of Saturday's gruelling Test as he recovered with a spot of surfing off the Noosa coast yesterday and looked focused ahead of what could turn out to be the crowning week of his career.

The Series is poised at one all with Saturday's Test in Sydney to decide the overall victor.

Irish Independent

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