Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Hibbard ready for Australia challenge

Richard Hibbard used last year's tour Down Under as 'motivation'

Richard Hibbard will return to Australia with the British and Irish Lions desperate to make amends for the nightmare he endured Down Under last summer.

The Wales hooker has enjoyed an outstanding campaign and has been deservedly rewarded with a place in the Lions squad to face the Wallabies. But when the 29-year-old last faced Australia on their own patch, he was left wondering if his Test career was over.

During Wales' 3-0 Test series defeat, Hibbard played just 14 minutes of the second Test but he made an unwanted contribution by giving away two critical penalties. As a result, Hibbard was dropped from the squad for the third Test, and his international future appeared in doubt, but he has bounced back admirably by producing the finest form of his career to date.

The Ospreys forward now wants to use his experiences in a positive way and not repeat the same mistakes again.

He said: "On a personal note, this is a good chance to put the demons of last summer behind me.

"It was a dark time - not being involved in the first Test, then coming in for the second and losing it and then being dropped for the third.

"It was difficult and, Australia being such a faraway place, it wasn't as if you could hop on a train and go home.

"But I used it as motivation from the start of this season, believing what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

"When I get criticism, I know how to dust myself down and I know there's not much worse that can happen to me than happened out there.

"You don't get many second chances and this one comes with an excellent group of players, so there's a real opportunity to put what happened last year to bed."

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