Belfast Telegraph

Lions must be ruthless, says Brian O'Driscoll

By Conor George

Brian O'Driscoll has challenged his Lions team-mates to show their ruthlessness when they take on Western Force in Perth tomorrow morning.

O'Driscoll is desperate to be part of a winning Test series on what is his fourth Lions tour. From experience, he knows that the players cannot afford to rest on their laurels after winning against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday.

He will captain a Lions selection for the sixth time in his career tomorrow. "We have to be ruthless in our approach and play," said O'Driscoll. "You tend not to be able to just tip away and then get to the Test series and be phenomenal.

"It doesn't work like that. You have really got to work towards building your game plan, your defensive systems, your kicking game and all the different dimensions of the game.

"So when you do get to the Test, they are at a very high level and you are able to kick it on to the next level. It is very difficult if you are just stuttering and starting in the first five or six games."

O'Driscoll is the only link to the 2001 Lions tour of Australia, and realises from experience the need for every player to be determined in their approach and execution.

"It is not just up to me to show the ruthlessness needed. It is up to everyone. Sam (Warburton) is driving that as captain. The guys who've been on previous tours certainly understand it.

"But the guys on their first tours understand it too. It is part of being professional and if we are to win the series, we all have to be aware of it and what's required. It's one thing pulling the (Lions) jersey on, it's another thing winning with the Lions.

"No one here has as yet won a Test series. We've got to continue trying to build on that mentality of, as I mentioned, being ruthless and making ourselves very difficult to beat."

Meanwhile, Rob Kearney is battling to prevent his Australia adventure from ending before it has started. Lions boss Warren Gatland admitted Kearney's hamstring injury – confirmed as a grade one tear – is a concern.

"We scanned him in Hong Kong. It came back as a grade one tear and the medics have put in a plan for the next week or so," Gatland said.

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