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banner Monday, 11 June, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Now for the real thing
Brian O'Driscoll
BBC Sport Online columnist and Lions ace Brian O'Driscoll says the tour is starting to hot up in Queensland.

We have had our run-out in Perth and performed very well, but it is now a case of moving on from the amateurs to the real professionals.

Starting with Tuesday's game against the Queensland President's XV, we will be coming up against players with Super 12 experience.

Right up until the first Test we will be put to the test.


The run-up to the Tests is much stronger than it was in South Africa back in 1999
  Brian O'Driscoll

In fact, none of us realised just how tough things would be.

Certainly the more experienced members of the party are saying that the itinerary in the run-up to the Tests is much stronger than it was in South Africa back in 1997.

There are going to be some mighty tough games.

But that has brought a real buzz in the camp; everyone is really looking forward to the challenges ahead.

I will be taking in the game against the Queensland President's from the stand along with my room mate Ben Cohen.

Elite players

But both of us will be training very hard in the hope of getting into the squad for Saturday's match against the Queensland Reds.

That will be tough as some of the elite players in the Wallabies squad will be up against us.

I enjoyed last Friday's game in Perth.

But now I understand why full-backs sometimes pull their hair out when they don't get the ball.

There's certainly a heck of a lot of running and so much unseen stuff.

Phil Vickery was not amused at not having scored a try even though we ran in 18.

I was thinking afterwards that I stole his try from a foot and a half out.

It was a classic prop's try!

But overall I think I did my basics reasonably well.

However, the whole positional thing is difficult.

I felt very sorry for Simon Taylor who has already left the party.

For one so young to get injured after only 40 minutes of action was unfortunate.

Pretty jovial

Hopefully there will not be too many cases of that happening on tour.

I know Phil Greening is still sweating; he does at the best of times.

But he is receiving constant physiotherapy for his knee injury and remains pretty jovial.

But not as jovial as my Irish mate Ronan O'Gara.

Nobody seems to be able to pronounce his Christian name.


Now everyone in the squad calls him by a name starting with 'R' - as long as it's not Ronan
  Brian O'Driscoll
He has been called Roger, Ryan, Robert, Rex; everything but Ronan. It is quite hilarious.

Now everyone in the squad calls him by a name starting with 'R' - as long as it's not Ronan.

I think there is a fine for anybody who says his name right!

There were a few names being called on our flight down to Townsville - all told we spent 15 hours in transit.

We were delayed for over six hours and it was not until two in the morning before we arrived at our destination.

But we have recovered fine with a few tough training sessions.

Once again everyone is putting in the effort.

After all there is a Test place to aim for.

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