O'Driscoll reflects on 'bittersweet' Lions triumph
July 8, 2013
Ireland's Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll get their hands on the Tom Richards Cup © Getty Images
The veteran centre was widely expected to lead the Lions into the Sydney showdown following an injury to tour captain Sam Warburton but was sensationally axed for the clash and had to watch from the ANZ Stadium stands as the tourists claimed their first series victory for 16 years.
Denied a fairytale end to what was his fourth Lions tour, O'Driscoll admitted to being jealous of those able to pull on the world famous red shirt for the game but remains proud to be able to add to his already glittering CV.
"The final whistle was bittersweet," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "You do not feel as much part of it if you have not played, no matter what. That is just how it is. It was a massive mix of emotions: delight at being part of this historic moment alongside guys you have battled with, but tempered by not playing. It was hard and I would be lying if I said otherwise.
"You are desperately envious of those who are out there but there is not a sliver of ambiguity about wanting to see the boys win. That is non-negotiable: 100 per cent you want the team to go well. I have spent a lot of time with these guys. But thanks be to god, I am a series winner with the British and Irish Lions, albeit it did not finish as I would have liked it to. But you cannot write your own script."
O'Driscoll also recalled the moment he found out he had been dropped for the first time in his professional career. "I realised a quiet word in the meeting room was not a good sign," he said. "They were not going to ask me to be captain. That would have been said to me there and then. It was a blow.
"Having seen other players react in the past to being dropped has given me an insight into how to respond and behave properly. I have seen guys who are dead men walking on tours when they have not been selected and you cannot be that person."
He added: "Credit to squad players who have had to do this sort of thing before me, put on the defence bib at training and really mean it out there. It is not easy, keeping your standards up at training. I have said all along on this tour that the contributions of everyone will make or break it. That was true and remains true. Suddenly I was that person. You cannot say things one week and then behave differently. I hope I did my bit last week."
Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll donates training gear to St Gregory's College student Arthur Currie © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Daniel Agger will be missing for Liverpool in their tie against West Ham due to illness
Mike Phillips insists he has a point to prove at new club Racing Metro, and knows there is no better way to make his mark than helping the club to silverware this season
Ian Bell could hardly hide his frustration after seeing his England team-mates deliver another batting performance of striking incompetence
A light heavyweight bout between former champion Rashad Evans and divisional newcomer Daniel Cormier has been scheduled to headline UFC 170 on February 22
Arsene Wenger is set to take his tenure at Arsenal into a third decade with a three-year deal worth £24 million, according to the Times
Lewis Hamilton won his 22nd grand prix during 2013. How many Britons have won more?
Tiger Woods shot a 10-under 62 to tie his own course record at Sherwood Country Club and lead the World Challenge by two strokes
When did Newport win the unofficial Welsh "championship" with Keith Jarrett creating several club records?
After Jean Todt's re-election, The Inside Line notices that Todt is not a fan of the way in which the FIA's marquee sports grab all of the attention in the wider world of motorsport
In the last few weeks we have seen Heineken Cup posturing, bold statements, u-turns and talk of boycotts - now we finally get to see some European rugby once again
Mesut Ozil, Steven Gerrard and Yaya Toure are the Premier League representatives named on a 15-man shortlist as part of the process to decide the 2013 FIFA FIFPro World XI
David Moyes has vehemently denied calling Everton supporters "a f****** disgrace" following his former club's 1-0 win at Old Trafford
Brendan Rodgers has insisted there is no agreement in place for Luis Suarez to leave Liverpool if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this season
England will face Italy in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup after being drawn in Group D alongside Uruguay and Costa Rica
Phil Jagielka has admitted he feels sorry for his former manager David Moyes after his torrid start to life at Old Trafford but believes the Manchester United high-ups have let him down
FIFA have caused more than their fair share of confusion in announcing the procedure for Friday's World Cup draw, with the mysterious "Pot X" ensuring plenty of head-scratching
With the next 147 maximum break set to be the 100th in the history of snooker, we look back to the quickest made by 'The Rocket', Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he cleared the table in a record five minutes and 20 seconds
ESPN's Alex Perry counts down the top 10 most important golf shots of the 2013 season
Things look like they can't get much worse for David Moyes. However if you fancy Newcastle to pile some fresh misery on Manchester United, you can back them for victory at Old Trafford at 6/1
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner