Thursday, June 07, 2012

O'Driscoll aims to defeat All Blacks Robert Lowe June 7, 2012

Inspirational Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll will make his return to Test rugby with an assignment he rates as the pinnacle outside the World Cup.
O'Driscoll, who missed the Six Nations this year after surgery for a shoulder injury, will lead out the tourists in Auckland on Saturday for the first of three Tests against the All Blacks.
New Zealand remain the only Southern Hemisphere opponents the Irish have failed to beat, with a 10-10 draw at Lansdowne Road in 1973 the closest they have come in 24 attempts dating back 107 years.
"I've managed to tick a lot of boxes along the way with the Irish side in beating the other Southern Hemisphere nations," the 33-year-old said on Thursday.
"But this one has eluded us. I think that speaks volumes for the challenge that it is and the enormity of what is in front of us."
O'Driscoll, who has made 117 appearances for his country, said one positive aspect about his time on the sidelines was that it had freshened him up physically and mentally.
All the niggles he had were allowed to ease, while there was renewed hunger to pull on the green jersey.
"The last time was back in the World Cup, so that seems like an eternity ago," he said.
O'Driscoll, who will be at centre, will skipper a side with two debutants in the starting 15 in winger Simon Zebo and prop Declan Fitzpatrick, and one on the bench in prop Ronan Loughney.

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