Brian O’Driscoll calls on team-mates to produce ‘80 minutes of their lives’
Leinster and Irish player desperately wants to be part of a Lions Test series win at the fourth time of asking
Indeed, they only outscored the Brumbies by 3-0 in the final quarter and still lost. In other words, you’d think that the Lions would need to be at least a score, and probably two, ahead entering the last 15 minutes or so, as a comeback is even more likely to beyond them than the Aussies next Saturday.
Revealingly, he spoke of the Lions’ conflicting mentality last Saturday, his “frustration” as a back wanting “to play with ball in hand, but we were trying to play a smart game as well. We held a six-point lead up until the 74th minute, and sometimes you are just trying to see the game through without playing anything spectacularly, just play smart Test football. Sometimes that entails kicking the ball and getting good kick-chase and just playing somewhat limited, but smart, football.”
For O’Driscoll personally, as well as the rest of the squad, Saturday’s third Test is a truly momentous occasion. His last ever Lions Test match. And reaching the ideal emotional pitch, so as not to repeat the mistakes of last Saturday and not leave themselves drained in the final quarter, is imperative.
And for a 34-year-old, even one as vintage as him, three such games on successive Saturdays would be a tall ask.
“You can’t let the emotion take over. You have to have a certain amount of emotion in all games, and in games where the stakes are as high as they are this weekend that has to come into play. But I think accuracy is vitally important. Both teams lacked accuracy on Saturday at times.
“There were some unforced errors from both sides, and to string phases together you have to be accurate. We struggled to play multi-phase at times, and you have to do that against good defences.”
Asked if he would have taken one-all going into the third Test, O’Driscoll was honest enough to admit: “No, because you always back yourself to win it in two. It’s 1-1 now, that’s how we find ourselves.
“There was a really good analogy from Jonny Sexton today,” he added, revealing how his Leinster team-mate had typically placed a salient spin on the Lions’ current situation. “Sitting on the plane, he said it’s rare after a cup final that you get the chance to relive a cup final again and put the things you did wrong right. It is a quite rare situation you get to do that.”
Nothing has actually changed in that sense, even if it just has felt like it in the fall-out of last Saturday loss. But the shot at forever is still only 80 minutes away.