Saturday 16 December 2017

O'Driscoll calls for 'controlled abandon' in bid to restore pride

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll during a press conference ahead of their Steinlager Series 2012, 2nd test, game against New Zealand on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll during a press conference ahead of their Steinlager Series 2012, 2nd test, game against New Zealand on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Hugh Farrelly

"NO ONE gives us a chance and that is a good place to be," said Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll ahead of tomorrow's second Test against the All Blacks.

Following last weekend's 42-10 defeat in Auckland, the world champions are rated 1/40 favourites with bookmakers, incredible odds in a 'two-horse race' against another top-tier rugby nation.

O'Driscoll said yesterday that Ireland can use this widespread dismissal, and the ridicule they have been subjected to over the past week in New Zealand, to their advantage but says the greatest motivation is coming from within the squad.

"No one gives us a chance," said O'Driscoll. "But I know what the capabilities of the team are, which is a good place to be. I know that if we can all play well collectively -- and it does take a massive effort from everyone to play really well, to play one of their best games.

"That's happened with Irish teams I've been involved with before, when we've beaten world-class opposition, and you just have to get it in your head to stay in the game.

"That was the problem (last week), we were good for the first 20 minutes then all of a sudden we're 9-3 down, and then they score the try and that's where they get their momentum.

Chances

"You can't allow that, you've got to stay with them, stay with them, stay with them, and take your chances when they come.

"Hopefully we don't have to play with any concerns, we've been written off over here already so we'll just play with not wild abandon, but controlled abandon as such.

"I'll definitely be talking to the lads saying there's not a huge level of expectation, only the expectation we put on ourselves," he added.

"I'd like to think that our standards are high and we certainly slipped well below where we expected them to be last week, so we've got put a little bit of pride back in the jersey."

After featuring in the inside-centre slot last week, O'Driscoll will play as specialist outside-centre tomorrow and is partnered by Gordon D'Arcy for the 48th time, a situation he said he feels very comfortable with.

"It is just human nature, you spend 13 years of your life out there in one position and it just feels a little bit more familiar," he said.

"I have played with Gordon for a lot of years and we are very comfortable when it comes to knowing how each other tick, so there is that comfort factor.

"Gordon has really upped his game massively since coming back from Ireland in the Six Nations, I'm looking forward to partnering him again on Saturday."

Irish Independent

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