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Brian O’Driscoll Has A Very Important Message For First Time Lions

With the 41-man Lions squad finally announced last week, attention can begin to shift to the practicalities involved in a successful Lions Tour.

Much of the discussion since the squad announcement has been around the likely starting XV to face the All Blacks in Eden Park on June 24.

However, there are so many other important aspects of a Lions Tour which need to be taken into consideration.

One of which, is to develop a system or pathway by which 41 players, from four different countries, can come together and play for each other as one.

Receiving your Lions gear together doesn’t automatically make you teammates.

It needs to be remembered that for much of the last few years, many of these players have been knocking lumps out of each other for their respective clubs and countries.

There may be underlying grudges or animosity between players and Warren Gatland will need to nip this in the bud as soon as possible.

This is something which former Lions captain and four-time tourist, Brian O’Driscoll, believes can play a key role in a successful tour.

“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,” O’Driscoll told Lions Official. 

O’Driscoll emphasises the need for players to make an effort to get to know players from other nations and not just stick to the usual crew who they would be familiar with in their own national camps.

The essence of the Lions is just that – creating a bond with players who you would perceive as adversaries on a rugby pitch.

“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.”

After guiding the Lions to a series triumph in 2013, Gatland and his coaching staff should know exactly what to do.


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