O'Driscoll ready to lead Lions
December 19, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll captained the Lions in 2005 but his tour ended in agony © Getty Images
Brian O'Driscoll has spoken of his deep desire to tour with the British & Irish Lions for a fourth time but insists winning the Test series will be the only thing that matters.
The 33-year-old has never won a series with the Lions, tasting defeat in Australia in 2001, New Zealand in 2005 and South Africa in 2009. And he is determined to help them secure their first Test series win since their victory over the Springboks in 1997.
"If you said you can get on the trip to Australia but you are not going to win the series I would have no interest," O'Driscoll told the Daily Telegraph. "I have already done three tours.
"The only reason to go on another Lions trip would be to win the series, to do something that I haven't experienced before. I've been to Australia before, I've seen a lot of the route and I've seen the all places. It's great but I can go on my holidays and do that. It's all about winning the series.
"I don't want to go on four Lions tours and win none of them. People don't remember losing Lions tours, they only remember winning tours. Different guys will go at different stages of their careers and some will enjoy the excitement of a first trip, but I don't need any more experience, I just want to win one.
"And the Lions need to win one. They are wonderful trips but they are unsustainable if you go time and time again and the home nation always wins.
"It's such a difficult thing in the modern era and that's not to take away to the tours in the Seventies and even prior to that. Now it's much more compact and the teams you play are more organised. This series is very winnable whatever team goes down there, but it's very losable too."
O'Driscoll, who turns 34 next month, returned to training recently after recovering from ankle surgery. Therefore he could return to action in time for Ireland's opening Six Nations clash with Wales on February 2.
Should the accomplished centre return to full fitness and form, he will be one of the leading contenders to lead the Lions in Australia. And despite the stresses and strains the role comes with, he admits the opportunity to captain the best from Britain and Ireland for a second time would be impossible to turn down.
"Having been captain on a tour, then toured when I'm not captain, I can tell you it is very different," O'Driscoll said. "There is a lot of pressure as the Lions skipper. It was a lot more relaxing just being another player in South Africa, I was able to enjoy it and there was less scrutiny than there had been in New Zealand.
"Paul did a good job in 2009, but we fell short as a team. Whoever does the job this time has to use the leadership group around him. There will be some guys who have been on previous tours and it is important to get them working for the captain. The key is that there is a tight-knit squad with a common goal, whatever the individual highs and lows along the way.
"It would be impossible to turn down the opportunity if I was asked to be captain again, even though there are huge stresses that go with it. So many names are being bandied around at the moment that I genuinely don't take much heed.
"Your captain needs to be starting in the Test team, and it is difficult to say at this stage that there is anyone in Britain and Ireland who is guaranteed to be starting."
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