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O’Driscoll: We Won’t Get Ahead Of Ourselves

O’Driscoll: We Won’t Get Ahead Of Ourselves

They were very much in sync on the pitch and it was no coincidence that Brian O’Driscoll and his centre partner in Wednesday’s tour win over the Golden Lions, Jamie Roberts, were singing from the same hymn sheet when they took part in the post-match press conference.

The British & Irish Lions will not allow themselves too much time to bask in the glow of Wednesday’s 74-10 hammering of Super 14 side the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

After last Saturday’s less-than-impressive defeat of the Royal XV, Brian O’Driscoll and company helped the Lions bear their teeth for the first time on the South African tour with a memorable ten-try triumph.

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O’Driscoll, his centre partner Jamie Roberts (2), wingers Ugo Monye (2) and Tommy Bowe (2), flanker Tom Croft and replacements James Hook and Stephen Ferris all touched down as the Cobus Grobbelaar-captained hosts were confidently swept aside.

There was real satisfaction in the Lions putting in an impressive 80-minute shift, but they will certainly keep their feet on the ground with bigger challenges ahead, most notably in the form of the Cheetahs this Saturday and the Sharks on Wednesday.

Speaking after his first appearance for the Lions since the ill-fated 2005 tour, O’Driscoll said: “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. It was a good performance and we will enjoy that.

“We will put our heads back down tomorrow and try to iron out the few creases there are still in our game, but there were plenty of positives to take out of it, particularly the performance of Jamie (Roberts).

“We scored 70 points against a Super 14 team and somebody has got to take some sort of notice of that.

“We will keep working away. We are far from the finished article. But the more we train and play together the more cohesive a unit we will become. There is a good buzz about.”

Lions defence coach Shaun Edwards was as busy as ever on the sideline during the game, living every tackle and defensive phase.

O’Driscoll was particularly encouraged to have kept the Golden Lions to just one try, as the tourists powered away on the scoreboard.

“One of the most pleasing things in the 80 minutes was not conceding in the second half,” he added.

“We could have taken our foot off the gas and maybe let them in for a couple of scores, but we talked at half-time about keeping them scoreless and it was great that we did that.

“We have set the bar at a certain level and now the players on Saturday have the responsibility to take it to the next level.

“We are all fighting for Test spots and we all have to continue to better each others performances. Only the captain, Paul O’Connell, is guaranteed place and so that gives a great competitive edge to the team.

“There is a good buzz about this squad. We have a great unity and we are building on that daily. Hopefully that will tell on the pitch.”

Man-of-the-match Roberts, who impressed with a two-try salvo, repeated the line of ‘let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves’ when giving his thoughts on the game.

“I’m sure we will look back at the video and see there is plenty to work on. It’s now up to the guys playing on Saturday to raise the bar again.

“The tight five were fantastic and freed up the space for the backs. Happy days!

“It was pretty special playing with Brian. As a boy I grew up watching him.

“I remember watching him back during the 2001 and 2005 tours and it is great to finally get the chance to play alongside him. Fingers crossed I will get another chance again.”

Lions coach Ian McGeechan said the final scoreline was a pleasant surprise to him as he had been expecting a much tighter game. 

“It was a good performance. I don’t think I would have predicted a scoreline like that before the game,” the Scot said afterwards.

“There are still certain things we want to do better, but it has given us a sighter for what is possible if we get things right.

“We know we have got to lift ourselves another level or two in the next few weeks. We wanted to feed off each performance and there was some good feedback from Saturday and that was taken into this game.

“The pleasing thing is we kept playing for 80 minutes. In South Africa we are going to have to maintain that concentration and keep the focus in every game.”