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banner Sunday, 17 June, 2001, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Wilkinson is just sheer class
Brian O'Driscoll
BBC Sport Online columnist Brian O'Driscoll reflects on playing alongside England and Lions playmaker Jonny Wilkinson.

What a player. I've played against Jonny Wilkinson, watched him on television and read all about his exploits.

But playing alongside him was something else.

He is fantastic. He has marvellous vision and supplies a wonderful service to the rest of the three-quarters.

His pass is bang on every time, and he buys so much time for everyone else.

He did brilliantly for my first-half try.


I was expecting to be tackled but before I knew it I was underneath the sticks
  Brian O'Driscoll
He delayed being tackled and I came in at the right angle and just hit his pass at pace.

I was expecting to be tackled but before I knew it I was underneath the sticks.

I really enjoyed the game. It was nice playing alongside the likes of Jonny, Martin Johnson and alongside Rob Henderson again.

What a tour Hendo is having.

I found it very exciting to be on the same team as those boys.

I was disappointed that I had to come off early after I bruised the shoulder.

But it was nothing serious. The shoulder is fine.

I just got a little knock and I came off just as a precautionary measure.

It is an old injury which is an on-going thing, but it is not too serious.

Although to be fair, it was a pretty weak Queensland side, but I hope we gave the Wallabies a little message.


Jonny Wilkinson: great timing

I believe we played some fairly good stuff.

We set out our stall and showed people what we really are capable off.

Despite what is being said by others, the Reds tried to muscle things up a bit early on.

They tried to ruffle a few feathers. But honestly it really worked in our favour as the boys were well able for them.

The boss was reasonably satisfied with our performance.

A little disappointed, though, that we let the Reds in for a score in the second half.

Well pleased

But at least it was not a try from bad defence, just a little mistake.

Certainly everyone was very well pleased with the first half.

There is still a hell of a lot of fine tuning to do.

The main problem we foresee is that the Wallabies are excellent at snaffling possession on the ground.

We will have to protect the ball more and get more players to the breakdown.

I was guilty on a few occasions against the Reds in that I did not protect the ball as well as I could have.

But most of the hard spade work has been done in most passages of play.


It is just all media hype, and I think the headlines are there to sell papers
  Brian O'Driscoll
Obviously there is a lot of media attention.

Personally, though, I do not feel under any pressure whatsoever.

It is just all media hype, and I think the headlines are there to sell papers.

I am well used to it. Anyway I do not read them any more.

We have been lucky enough in that we have not too much running around in our leisure time.

There have not been too many functions that would keep tied up all the time.

So far we stick together as a team.

After a game we would have the usual dinner and speeches, but then we would head out to relax together.

No homesickness

I took myself off to the local zoo on our day off while others went on the lookout for sharks.

Mind you, they would not have had to look to far for those.

There is plenty in our squad as it is!

Touch wood everything has been going really well.

So far no home sickness. I am really enjoying the tour.

Play through pain

It is such a big thing and everyone is looking forward to the Tests to start.

Thankfully there are no more major injuries. Players will play through pain and at any cost.

You see there are not that many opportunities in play in a Test team for the Lions.

Unless the injury is very severe, it is a case that if you are selected to play in any game now, you play.

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See also:

11 Jun 01 |  Lions Down Under
Now for the real thing
06 Jun 01 |  Lions Down Under
O'Driscoll's new challenge
27 Apr 01 |  Lions Down Under
O'Driscoll: 'Beware the hype'
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