Brian O'Driscoll reflects on his first Lions call up

While he said it was something you never forget, Brian couldn't quite remember how he found he'd made the cut

Brian O'Driscoll reflects on his first Lions call up

Brian O'Driscoll of the Lions. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former Ireland and Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll reflected on his first Lions call-up on Off the Ball on Friday.

Speaking to Ger Gilroy and Dave McIntyre, O'Driscoll said: "It was about 6 Nations more than Europe back then. If I have a good 6 Nations, I can put myself in the shop window and that's all I can really hope for. I'm still young, I'm only on the international scene a couple of years.

"So it was really only after that 6 Nations, when I played reasonably well, did I think: 'I have a really good shot here'.

"But I didn't take it for granted that I was going to be picked, far from it," he added. 

Given the Irishman had scored his legendary hat-trick against France and had announced himself on the world stage, he was still overjoyed when finding out he had made the cut:

"I was still absolutely elated when my name was read out or I was sent a letter, I can't remember what form, I was properly chuffed.

"Your first Lions, no matter who you are, no matter what expectation there is and how much you've been hyped - it's still an absolute treat getting the nod. It's something you do remember, granted I can't remember what means I found out - but I do remember feeling incredible."

Brian O'Driscoll and Keith Wood stroll along the beach at Manly in 2001. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Speaking about individual ambition to get on the tour, O'Driscoll noted that you have to look past the "one game at a time" mantra that most players churn out to the media these days.

"I think you probably use it all the more when your team's not going well. When your team is going well, you're in good form. You're going well in the league, you're going well in Europe, you're qualified for the knock-out stages, you're doing well in the 6 Nations - just the feel good factor is there and you can soak that off one another and you're on a high.

"It's when your team struggles that you have those moments of 'oh gosh, things are getting tough,' and you have to convince yourself that is the carrot you need. Even if the team's not going well [you think] 'I've got to project the best of myself to make sure I'm on that plane'."