Sunday 25 February 2018

Waltzing O'Driscoll wows fans as 'green' Lions roar

Lions fans Amanda and Carol Fallon, from Co Galway
Lions fans Amanda and Carol Fallon, from Co Galway
Supporters before the match in Perth
Supporters before the match in Perth
Conor George

Conor George

TWELVE years after his performances on his first Lions Tour earned him the nickname "Waltzing O'Driscoll", Ireland's most celebrated rugby player made a winning return to Australia.

He wowed Australia 12 years ago when his burgeoning skills first attracted worldwide attention but the Lions lost the series. Four years later, he travelled to New Zealand as the leader and foul play brought his tour to a premature end.

Then four years ago, he was also part of a losing series in South Africa.

But it is testament to O'Driscoll's enduring appetite for success that he continues to set the standard in world rugby.

Yesterday, he grabbed a brace of tries in a performance he personally seemed underwhelmed with.

"I did some good things, some not so good things," he shrugged after the game.

"There is plenty to work on and this is only the beginning," he added.

The night was a contrast of emotions for the Irish. For certain the delight at having eight players starting the game was cause for celebration and there was a distinct hue of green mixed in with the red Lions jerseys that helped make up the 35,103 crowd.

Those celebrations were marred, though, by the injury to Cian Healy and the controversy surrounding his citing for allegedly biting Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan.

Healy will now appear before a disciplinary committee at 7.30pm local time (12.30pm Irish time) today with his Lions Tour hanging in the balance.

For now, though, that the Lions Tour has finally kicked off in Australia must be celebrated and feted – especially given the high Irish involvement on the night.

Full match report and analysis: see sport

Irish Independent

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