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13th Jun 2013

Lions Watch: Bridge walks, BOD does the splits and the Where-atahs

More tourism activities for the tourists, the huge roll of Brian O’Driscoll shaped cotton wool and the curious case of the missing Waratahs.


More tourism activities for the tourists, the huge roll of Brian O’Driscoll-shaped cotton wool and the curious case of the missing Waratahs.

Sight seers

We all know that the Lions Tour is a weird combo of gruelling training, corporate obligations, a few games of rugby and a lads’ holiday. Somehow it all, just about, works and while a few of the team were busy dressing up as Australian icon, and AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, a few of the rest were getting out and about onto the Sydney streets.

Well, not so much the streets as the sky in fact. A bunch of players, including Mike Phillips, Manu Tuilagi, Tom Croft, Geoff Parling and Ben Youngs all decided to do the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge walk. No Irish lads made the trip but we’re putting it down to focusing on their games rather than vertigo, right?

Careful now…

Most of us now watch Brian O’Driscoll’s every move on a rugby pitch with a mixture of admiration and fear. He still has the ability to light up a game with a move or pass but every collision brings the fear that he won’t get up this time and that his great career is over.

So far he has escaped any injury on this tour but it has been a close run thing and Warren Gatland is a little worried about one particular unorthodox move pulled by the Leinster centre earlier this week.

“You saw at the end of the (Combined Country XV) game that he (O’Driscoll) said he had done the splits, and he just woke up a little bit sore,” Gatland said in today’s press conference.

“The thing with Brian is that we’ve got to make sure we manage him.

“We spoke about that with him specifically before the tour, saying that we didn’t really want him to play more than one game a week, and at any stage if his body was a little bit sore we would make sure that we keep him fresh and didn’t tire him out.”

With that in mind BOD gets the weekend off, surely setting him up to start next Saturday’s first Test. Now, where’s that giant roll of cotton wool?

Not so sweet 16

All tour we have bemoaned the standard of opposition faced by the Lions. Even the Reds, who ran them close enough, were a shadow of the side they could have been due to withdrawals and injury.

On Saturday, against Michael Cheika’s Waratahs, the scene will be very similar. According to reports in today’s press up to 16 players will be missing from the Waratahs squad. Eight players are on Wallaby duty (Dave Dennis and Rob Horne have been released to play), like Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper, while another six are injured.

Another face familiar to Irish rugby fans, now Waratahs coach Alan Gaffney, explained the situation.

“It’s a pity we have so many people missing,” said Gaffney. “It’s not a situation of our own making. We haven’t chosen to rest players, as Western Force did in Perth last week, and as we still have some senior blokes available to us we’ll present the Lions with a sterner challenge.”

Looking at the Lions team selected, we have our doubts Alan.

‘Lions coverage on JOE brought to you in association with Kellogg’s, official cereal & snack provider to the IRFU.’