Former Ireland and Lions centre Brian O’Driscoll has questioned elements of the Lions’ Queenstown break which they took after their dramatic 24-21 series-levelling win over the All Blacks in Wellington last Saturday.
The Lions spent a couple of days in the South Island tourist resort of Queenstown resting and relaxing after six weeks of non-stop rugby which has seen them play nine games thus far. After a long season which began way back in August for Britain and Ireland’s finest, the break was just what the doctor ordered for Warren Gatland’s men.
During their time there they visited a haunted house, played golf, went jet boating and bungee jumping, with some of the squad also enjoying a couple of hard-earned beers. Pictures of their downtime were tweeted out to the Twittersphere as they tried to rest up before the biggest game of their lives.
This isn’t the first time that the Lions have taken a few days off at the start of the week of a test-decider. The 2013 vintage enjoyed a couple of days off on the beautiful beaches of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast before their 41-16 series winning triumph over the Wallabies. The formula has worked before, so why change it?
To O’Driscoll, who toured four times with the Lions, the problem was not in the fact that the players took a couple of days off, but rather the sharing on Twitter of pictures of some of the players having a few beers in the afternoon.
The 38-year-old who now works as a pundit for BT Sport, feels that the players would have been better served by not posting the pictures of them enjoying a couple of pints on social media. Feeling that the pics could fire Steve Hansen’s men up even more, the former Irish skipper felt that they ”could have been a bit smarter about how they went about that”.
Speaking on Irish radio station Newstalk’s Off the Ball podcast, this is what BOD had to say:
“I have an appreciation for the number of miles on the clock at this stage. The Lions have completed a full season, are into week seven of a seven- week tour, they have a huge amount of training done over that time.
“They definitley need some time off their feet, of that there’s no doubt.
“Queenstown was where they decided to go… I definitely think they could have been a bit smarter about social media. I saw one or two posts of a couple of lads having a beer mid-afternoon.
“I’ve no problem with the lads having a few beers, but there’s no need to promote it to the world. The All Blacks are looking at that, and it is adding fuel to the fire.
“Have these guys switched off already? Are they happy with 1-1?
“If I was an All Black, that’s how I’d be looking at it. ‘Are they on easy street? We’re here grafting because we are hurting from last week”.
O’Driscoll has a point. Have a couple of quiet beers to unwind by all means. But don’t post pictures of yourself doing it on Twitter, where your opponents are likely to see it and get even more fired up and determined to get one over on you.
Already smarting after a first home defeat in eight years, the men in black have been preparing for Saturday’s do or die clash with relentless focus and intensity amid rumours of a couple of scuffles during training this week.
The Lions definitely don’t want to be giving the All Blacks any kind of extra motivation as the hosts look to avoid a first series defeat since 1971.