O'Connell talks of 'big buzz' among Lions
Tuesday 26 May 2009
Paul O'Connell has revealed that there is a "big buzz" in the British and Irish Lions camp ahead of their 10-match tour of South Africa.
The Lions captain touched down in Johannesburg yesterday with the rest of his team, who kick off their trip with a match against a Royal XV in Rustenburg on Saturday.
Led by Ian McGeechan, the tourists will also play three Test matches against the world champions in June and July and Irishman O'Connell believes the team has begun to gel nicely.
"I think there's a big buzz," he said. "We had a great week last week. Everyone's out on the pitch at the same time, everyone's in the gym at the same time, everyone's in and around the training ground at the same time.
"I think there's a lot of good friendships being made, a lot of characters emerging already and that's going to be a big thing for us.
"I said a week ago that the talent is there in the group, the coaching is there in the group and now it's up to us to perform as a team."
The 29-year-old was part of the last Lions squad that went on tour four years ago, a trip to New Zealand when they were hammered 3-0, and he is now keen to erase those memories.
He continued: "I think it's important that when the players wear the jersey on this tour, they live up to the tradition and the history of the jersey.
"I think when you look back at some of the players that have won the British and Irish Lions jersey down the years, there were great players.
"Maybe in 2005 we didn't live up to that. A lot of things went against us on the tour and at the same time I don't think we did the tradition proud. I think for me personally, looking back at 2005 is a big motivation."
O'Connell also revealed that he was not the only one keen on putting to bed what happened in 2005, adding: "I know for a few other guys that were on the tour, it's the same thing. Living up to the tradition of the jersey is a big thing for us.
"A lot of us when we play for our clubs give everything playing for Munster or Ireland. I think the same thing applies when we play for the British and Irish Lions."
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Transfer news round-up: Barcelona to offer £37m for Manchester United striker Robin van Persie; Manuel Neuer interests Manchester City; Luiz Gustavo on Tottenham radar
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Gareth Bale puts five-bedroom Essex mansion up for sale at £2.2m following £86m switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid
Former England captain Mick Mills 'turned a blind eye' to initiation ceremony abuse at Stoke City, which included sexual assault dubbed 'The Glove'
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 2 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- 5 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories