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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
INPHO/Dan Sheridan Brian O'Driscoll address the squad today in Brisbane.
# Game time
Brian O'Driscoll backs Lions versus 'smart' Australia
The Ireland talisman will start the first game of a Lions tour for the fourth time tomorrow.

BRIAN O’DRISCOLL IS confident that the British and Irish Lions are set for a winning performance versus Australia in Brisbane tomorrow.

However, the legendary centre remains wary of a Wallabies outfit that he considers to be one of the toughest nuts to crack in world rugby.

“I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face that the Australians are probably for me one of the smartest teams,” O’Driscoll said today. “They invariably have very clever players in key positions and tomorrow’s team is no different.

“And when you look at the quality of players that have been left out of their side, and also our side, you realise the calibre of players that aren’t going to be playing and that just heightens the excitement all the more.”

O’Driscoll is on his fourth Lions tour and will play his seventh Test in the famous red jumper in front of a capacity crowd at Suncorp Stadium. He conceded that Tuesday’s 14-12 loss to the Brumbies was a setback for the squad but said that spirits remain high within the touring party.

“Yes I think so,” O’Driscoll, the only surviving member of the 29-13 victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane 12 years ago, said when asked if the Lions can repeat the dose this weekend. “I think we’ve built well, we obviously had the little hiccup on Tuesday but you have to try and use those situations to try and galvanise a side.

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“We’ve spoken after that and the only way of reacting to a defeat like that is to go out in your next performance and that just happens to be the first Test.” A hamstring injury to Jamie Roberts has opened the door for Wales young-gun Jonathan Davies to start alongside O’Driscoll at inside-centre. O’Driscoll was effusive in his praise of Davies, saying: “My description of Jon is that he is an incredibly rounded footballer. The way he can carry the ball extremely hard but he has a great range of skills as well.

“He probably identifies space better than a lot of guys that I’ve played beside and I think obviously with no disrespect to Jamie and Manu (Tuilagi), I think Jon brings a slightly different dimension. “He’s got another big mixture to his game so I’m excited about playing alongside him, he had a massive performance against the Waratahs last week.”

Lions presented their Test jerseys ahead of first meeting with Australia