Monday 11 December 2017

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

Rugby Conor George

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

The Welsh flanker stayed on in Melbourne yesterday for a scan on his injured hamstring while the rest of the squad flew to the holiday resort of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to recuperate.

It is likely Warburton tore his hamstring, which would rule him out of Saturday, although he did insist 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 Leinster centre.

It's a responsibility he will 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 only a minute of the Test series against New Zealand after being injured by a 'spear tackle'.

He assumed the captaincy when Warburton was forced from the pitch in last Saturday's 16-15 defeat to the Wallabies 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 the gruelling clash 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.

Irish Independent

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