O'Driscoll hopes to shake off bout of vertigo to hit heights for Irish

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An attack of vertigo has hampered Brian O'Driscoll's final preparations for this morning's showdown with New Zealand, but the Ireland captain is confident he will be fit for the game in New Plymouth.

It is not the first time the 31-year-old has been affected by the problem, but he said the symptoms were not as severe as last year when it ruined his Six Nations Grand Slam celebrations. "I'll be grand in another 24 hours," O'Driscoll said. "I just get a bit of vertigo now and then. I haven't had it for a while. The last real memory of having it was the night we won the Grand Slam and I couldn't go to the dinner. It just came on and I was getting sick that time."

O'Driscoll stayed behind at the team hotel while the team had their "captain's run" at Yarrow Stadium. His midfield partner Gordon D'Arcy also sat out the run, but coach Declan Kidney was not unduly concerned. He said: "Our captain's run is just a way of getting the body up. You don't want to be hanging around the hotel for 48 hours before a match. We ask guys how they are feeling and if it's prudent for them to run out they do that. Friday is just a case of keeping the body ticking over for Saturday."

Today's game is a big one for the Irish who have not beaten New Zealand in 22 previous attempts. They have come close with a 10-10 draw in 1973 and on their most recent trips there in 2006 and 2008, when they were well in the hunt until the final quarter.

In horrendous conditions in Wellington two years ago, the teams were tied 8-8 at half-time and it took a try from Ma'a Nonu in the 64th minute to turn the match in New Zealand's favour.

John Barclay believes Scotland's team spirit can help them repeat their victory of two years ago when they meet Argentina in the first Test in Tucuman today. The Glasgow Warriors flanker, who will win his 19th cap for Scotland this weekend, was part of the side that defeated the Pumas 26-14 in the second Test in 2008 and is hopeful of taking a 1-0 lead in the two-match series at the Estadio Monumental Jose Fierro this weekend.

Barclay said: "I think we have a similar spirit to the last time we beat Argentina. I consider that we are now a better team than the one which was here two years ago. In the first Test in 2008 we were very close [to winning], but we improved in the contact area and improved our shape and secured a good win in the second match."