Brian O’Driscoll Has Some Sound Advice For Lions Players This Summer
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Buy into the concept.
Brian O’Driscoll knows a thing or two about Lions tours, having toured in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013. The former Ireland centre also captained the Lions the last time they were in New Zealand back in 2005.
Ahead of this summer’s tour to New Zealand, O’Driscoll has some sound advice for the 41 men selected. Buy in to the Lions concept and put yourself out there.
Speaking to the Lions official website, O’Driscoll says players need to shed their nationality and become a Lion as soon as they get there.
“As soon as you shed your nationality and become a Lion, I think that lends itself better to a good atmosphere on and off the pitch. It happened very quickly on Tours two, three and four. On the first, probably a week or ten days in I found myself out for a cup of coffee with a group of lads.”
“We’d gone out for a stroll and a coffee and half an hour, 40 minutes in I realised I was the only Irish guy there. So that’s probably when it struck home for me. You have to embrace the Lions Tour. I would say get out of your comfort zone, don’t just stick to the crew that you are comfortable with.”
“The strength of the squad is the togetherness and the bond that you build so the only way of doing that is to put yourself out there a little bit more. You need great togetherness down there. New Zealand, especially on a Lions Tour, can be a bit of a goldfish bowl so you’ve got to be a tight unit. You have to find yourself connecting with guys that you don’t necessarily know that well.”
“That happens when you’re rooming with people from different countries. Immediately you’ve got another pal that’s looking out for your best needs, making sure that you’re wearing the right thing, that you’re on time for meetings and so forth. So you have a ready-made buddy and they link you in with their friends and who they hang out with so it tends to happens relatively organically.”
The Lions kickstart their tour against a Provincial Union XV on June 3rd.