The changing room in Sydney following the series win against Australia last weekend was an unbelievable place to be – it’s safe to say it was the most champagne I’d ever sprayed. We attended a function at the Sydney Opera House not long after the victory, which was exciting to be part of, though had we lost it might have been a different story.
We headed out in Sydney last Saturday night to just chill out with a few drinks. The next few days were spent just relaxing and seeing friends and family with a few of the boys heading out and having a laugh, not to mention Stuart Hogg taking to the streets of Sydney in a rather fetching pair of red swimming trunks and no more! To be honest, I was pretty well behaved.
Ultimately, it’s a rugby tour and long may the traditions of rugby tours continue, regardless of whether it’s “acceptable” for a Lions tour. At the end of the day you’re out there for the craic and to enjoy yourselves, and we certainly did that in the days after the tour had finished.
I’ve never experienced anything on the pitch quite like scoring in a Test series for the Lions. The stadium was so loud and the noise was incredible, but inside it all went a bit quiet. You don’t know what to think but it’s one heck of a buzz. I’ve had to watch it on replays because you can’t really remember a moment like that, but it’s a highlight of my career and it’ll remain a moment to treasure.
Tries don’t come around too often so to get one in a game of that magnitude and at that moment is a fantastic feeling. It was made better by the team performance on the day, and not many people would have predicted that scoreline before kick-off, so it was all the more special to finish the tour in style.
With Australia winning the second Test, we certainly had the pressure on us, but thankfully came up with what was needed in the game that mattered. It dawns on you a bit when you score like that, but I don’t think it’ll actually hit us for a few months until we realise what we’ve actually achieved.
After George North scored his try, and you take a look at the score and the Wallabies need three scores to come back at us, I think it started to hit home that we could finish it. With the way we were defending and the pressure we had on them, I felt pretty comfortable that we wouldn’t throw the game away. Obviously, anything can happen, but it was after George’s try that the result looked safe and to score at the end was the icing on the cake.
The plan now is to have a short break in Marbella with a few good friends from back home, and then it’s off to Paris to find a place to live. I’ve got my graduation next Friday at Cardiff University and then I’ve got another short holiday that I haven’t decided yet, maybe somewhere like Croatia for a few days, but then the focus is on Paris and doing my best to settle in with my new club Racing Métro.
I’ll miss living in Wales hugely, but I’m ready to go abroad and challenge myself. It’s taking myself out of my comfort zone and right now the move is really exciting. I’ve done well in Cardiff and also I’ve got my education there finished, so it’s the perfect time to make the change, spread my wings and try something new with the massively exciting challenge that awaits.
There are certain things in life that you want to achieve, and the obvious one is to win a World Cup – we were desperately close two years ago when we reached the semi-finals in New Zealand. But another is to win a Lions series, and you get an opportunity at one or the other every two years, such is the way they are planned out, and they’re what you’d like to peak for. There’s a lot of rugby to be played between now and 2017, but I’ll only be 30 and, hopefully, that won’t be too old to compete at the highest level and for a spot on that Lions tour of New Zealand. But it’s a long way away and there’s a World Cup to be played before then. Hopefully, my body will hold up for it!
Beating Aussies was a true triumph for Brian
I’m really happy for Brian O’Driscoll (below) as he now has that Lions series win under his belt. I’m sure he’s absolutely delighted with it. He’ll be disappointed with missing out on the final Test but that’s how it is, six centres can’t go into two and he just missed out on selection.
However, the way he dealt with that was exceptional and he’s an example to all of us younger players. It’s something that happens to all of us but we can learn from him how to accept it and move on.
The selection was made quite public and it was slightly disappointing with the furore that was made over it. As players, squad members and team-mates we’ve got a massive respect for Brian and he’s been hugely influential on me. He still is a great player and he had a wonderful tour as well.
Caught with my pants down on the golf course
I’ve been caught with my pants down – literally – playing golf with a few of my mates. Having failed to hit my tee shot past the ladies’ tee, I had to start the next hole with my pants round my ankles. It was a good laugh and, as they say, rules are rules. One of my best mates from school is pretty strict so he was ensuring that they were adhered to.
Self-proclaimed, I’m very good at golf but I’m actually useless, and I think I’ll be sticking to rugby for a profession.Reuse content