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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
O'Driscoll reveals Lions anguish
Brian O'Driscoll was left distraught after the incident in the first Test
Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll has revealed the shock and trauma of his tour-ending injury in New Zealand.

O'Driscoll dislocated his shoulder in the first minute of the first Test in June after an off-the-ball incident involving Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga.

"In an instant I knew my tour was over and I could feel the tears coming," he says in a new diary of his rugby year.

"I wanted to wind the clock back and start again. Why was this happening? I felt completely cheated."

O'Driscoll was injured after Mealamu and Umaga appeared to spear tackle the Ireland centre after the ball had been cleared out of a ruck.

The incident was not picked up by the match referee as play had moved on and both Mealamu and Umaga escaped punishment.
I felt like a drowning man, I wanted to shout for help but nobody could hear me
Brian O'Driscoll

The tackle infuriated the Lions party and cast a dark shadow over the rest of the tour.

The All Blacks insisted that there was no intention to injure their opponent, while O'Driscoll accused the pair of a "cheap shot".

"Was I speared? I think so. Slam-dunked is probably the expression which sums it up best," said O'Driscoll in an extract from his new book, published in Tuesday's Guardian newspaper.

"Not that it makes much difference - even if they just dropped me they were reckless as to whether I broke my neck or not.

"I felt extremely vulnerable. As I was thrown down, the only thing in my mind was to somehow break my fall. Much better to break my hand or my arm than my neck.

"I stretched out with my right arm just in time and hit the ground with a thud. The pain was instantaneous.

"Something had to give and it was my right shoulder, which had sheared away and, as I now know, dislocated.

"I tried to shout out but I had no voice at all - either I had been winded or the shock had numbed me for a minute.

I could see all these Lions fans looking stunned as I left
Brian O'Driscoll

"I felt like a drowning man, I wanted to shout for help but nobody could hear me. Play had moved to the far side of the pitch. I was stranded.

"We lost the match 21-3, and the boys were very down, but they were fantastic to me. Players instinctively know when something is wrong or right. And they knew that I had been done in cold blood."

Despite being in considerable agony, O'Driscoll admits he felt for all the Lions fans that had made the trip to Christchurch.

"It was the worst moment of my life," O'Driscoll added. "I felt embarrassed and pathetic as I was paraded the long way around the ground on the cart before I could get to the medical room.

"I could see all these Lions fans looking stunned as I left.

Brian O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll leaves the field on a cart after dislocated his shoulder

"I wanted them to stop the cart so I could apologise to them personally. The party hadn't even started and I was on the way home."

And O'Driscoll says the treatment he received in the medical room left him even more angry.

"Then, and I still can't believe this, this nurse asked me if she could have my Lions shirt," he said.

"Mother of God, what was she thinking? I've been speared off the pitch after just 40 seconds of the Test series and she wants the shirt off my back as well.

"What is wrong with this bloody country? Nobody will ever have this shirt. It's the only tangible thing I have got that says I captained the 2005 Lions in a Test match.

"Through no fault of my own I have been denied any other memories.

"I had never known pain like it. Eventually the chief medic found some morphine then instead of waiting a few minutes for it to kick in, he started yanking away to try and get the shoulder back in.

"Finally, finally, finally, the shoulder crunched back in - there was a moment of pain that nearly caused me to black out and then the pure bliss of feeling it come right."

O'Driscoll will miss Ireland's autumn internationals but hopes to be back in action by Christmas.





SEE ALSO
O'Driscoll 'gouge' stunned Henson
16 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Irish ready for O'Driscoll fight
21 Sep 05 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll content with recovery
31 Aug 05 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll may make autumn Tests
03 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Dallaglio hits out at All Blacks
22 Jul 05 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll begins road to fitness
16 Jul 05 |  Internationals
Umaga yet to apologise for tackle
30 Jun 05 |  Internationals
Henry defends duo over O'Driscoll
28 Jun 05 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll fumes at 'cheap shot'
25 Jun 05 |  Internationals
New Zealand 21-3 Lions
25 Jun 05 |  Internationals
Former Lion bemoans 2005 training
24 Jul 05 |  Internationals


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