British and Irish Lions Tour 2013: Brian O'Driscoll favourite to replace Sam Warburton as captain in decisive third Test
Wales flanker Warburton suffered what the Lions described as a 'significant' hamstring tear during the 16-15 second Test defeat in Melbourne
Tuesday 02 July 2013
Brian O'Driscoll looks set to end his British and Irish Lions career by captaining the tourists in a Test series decider.
The Ireland centre is firm favourite to take over from an injured Sam Warburton in Saturday's Sydney showdown against Australia.
Wales flanker Warburton suffered what the Lions described as a "significant" hamstring tear during the 16-15 second Test defeat in Melbourne three days ago.
Sean O'Brien is his likely back-row replacement, with 34-year-old O'Driscoll poised for leadership duties as the Lions chase a first Test series victory since 1997.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland is due to name the starting line-up in Noosa tomorrow, with centre Jamie Roberts and prop Alex Corbisiero expected to be in contention for places after recovering from hamstring and calf muscle injuries, respectively.
O'Driscoll, meanwhile, will end a fourth Lions tour of duty stretching back to 2001 hoping he can fill one missing entry in a career portfolio packed with trophy successes.
It would be his ninth Lions Test match appearance, putting him level with current tour manager Andy Irvine and Syd Millar, and one ahead of players like Martin Johnson, Jim Telfer, JPR Williams and Jeremy Guscott.
"They have been two incredibly keenly-contested games. Both of them should probably have gone the other way than they did, and it now culminates with a winner-takes-all," O'Driscoll said.
"We knew we were never going to get it easy against Australia, and it has been proved.
"You kind of think how scenarios could be different - having a series in the bag, rather than one still to go and fight for.
"But then after a couple of days you just have to have the ability to shelve it and focus on the target. One more 80 minutes this season is all that is asked of everyone in the squad - the 80 minutes of their lives.
"People talk about the momentum going with the team that wins that second Test, and I would have agreed with it in 2001 because it was a comfortable victory they (Australia) had then.
"But just the way the two games have gone, with two points between us in the first one and one point in the second one, just shows how tight it is. I think the team that turns up on Saturday and gets some momentum from early in the game will get the upper hand.
"There is always a mental toll in games of this magnitude. Thankfully, you do get seven days to try to get over one game and have the building process for the next one.
"This game is very much mental as much as it is physical, and all the more so when you play opposition three weeks in a row."
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Iain Duncan Smith's expenses credit card is suspended after he runs up £1,000 debt to taxpayer
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 French woman dies in freak bungee jumping accident
- 5 Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck to divorce and end their 10-year marriage
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?