Woodward gives O'Driscoll Lions captaincy hint

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sir Clive Woodward yesterday dropped the broadest of hints that Brian O'Driscoll is the man he wants as captain of this summer's British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Sir Clive Woodward yesterday dropped the broadest of hints that Brian O'Driscoll is the man he wants as captain of this summer's British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

O'Driscoll has been appointed captain of the Northern Hemisphere team, managed by Woodward, for the Charity match against a Southern Hemisphere XV to raise money for the Tsunami relief fund at Twickenham on 5 March.

This is despite the fact that O'Driscoll is battling to recover from a hamstring injury suffered against Italy 10 days ago.

The Ireland captain and centre, who leads the Northern XV in preference to his fellow countryman Paul O'Connell, is presently in Poland attending a specialist cryotherapy centre in Spala with his co-centre Gordon D'Arcy, and receiving intensive treatment in an attempt to get fit for the RBS Six Nations match against England in Dublin next weekend.

His appointment while unfit is an indication of how much Woodward values O'Driscoll and wants him to lead the 44-strong Lions party.

If O'Driscoll is fit for the North v South match he will face a powerful looking Southern Hemisphere side which was named yesterday and contains the Australia captain and scrum-half, George Gregan, as well as the All Black Tana Umaga, the Springbok Schalk Burger and the Fijian flier Rupeni Caucau.

The news was not so good for England yesterday. The prop Julian White, who missed last weekend's defeat at Twickenham against France, was not considered for selection by Leicester for their Zurich Premiership match against Newcastle at Welford Road on Saturday. White has still not recovered from the neck problem that kept him out for the France game.

France's ferocious flanker Serge Betsen is another to miss out this weekend. He has a problem with his troublesome right thigh and has been omitted from the Biarritz team to face Agen this weekend.

However, there was good news for Italy's coach, John Kirwan, who learned yesterday that his dynamic No 8 Sergio Parisse had been cleared of stamping on the Wales fly-half Stephen Jones during last Saturday's Six Nations match. Parrise had been cited for the incident, but claimed it was unintentional.

The South Africa centre Robbie Fleck, who is still recovering from a calf operation, has agreed a new two-year contract with Bath.

Comments