Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll can’t wait for the Lions to take on Australia in the first test of the three game series in Brisbane on Saturday.
O’Driscoll is certain to start against the Aussies on his final Lions tour, and he can’t wait to team up with the latest generation of players to wear the famous red shirt.
“The Lions is so unique; you kick lumps out of all these guys year on year, and they’re massive adversaries. Then all of a sudden they become your teammates,” O’Driscoll said.
“You’re forced to bond in a six or seven-week period, and play for one another against one of the three best teams in the world.
“You have preconceived notions about what sort of guys particular individuals are. You see the way they carry-on on the pitch, and you might think they’re not your type of people.
“But then they can completely surprise you. You can room with someone for two or three days and they become your best friend.
“They’re looking out for you, making sure you’re at meetings, taking the right gear.
“You go for dinner or a drink with them. All of a sudden, you’re out with four or five other guys and you realize you’re the only Irish guy there.”
Fellow Irishman Paul O’Connell is also awaiting the game and coach Warren Gatland’s team announcement with interest.
“There is savage competition for places, and guys are very eager to play as well as they can individually. It’s as good as any team I’ve been on, but you don’t really know until you get to the tests,” O’Connell said.
“I was on the tour in 2005, and to this day it’s still probably the toughest rugby experience of my life. I had this big expectation of what a Lions Tour was going to be.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t play well. A lot of us didn’t play well, and it was a very tough place to be after the tour.”
O’Connell has acknowledged that Australia will be tough opponents. He added, “We’ve a very tough three weeks ahead of us.
“Australia are a really good side, they have a lot of incredibly talented players and the next three weeks will be really tough and will be a lot different to what we’ve experienced so far in terms of intensity and physicality. It will be a big step up for us.”