Brian O'Driscoll insists he will not be on a mission to right any wrongs when he lines up for the 2009 British and Irish Lions.
Ireland’s Grand Slam captain leads the Lions at Ellis Park on Wednesday night - four years after he suffered a dislocated shoulder inside two minutes of the opening Test match against New Zealand. He exited the tour on a stretcher.
But the 30-year-old is now set to launch his third Lions trip by taking over leadership duties from rested tour captain Paul O’Connell.
And he will run out against the Golden Lions at the peak of his powers, having inspired Ireland to RBS 6 Nations and Grand Slam glory, then helped Leinster land their first European title.
“For me, it is not really about trying to put the wrongs of that right,” said 2005 Lions captain O’Driscoll, reflecting on his ill-fated trip. “It is just another opportunity to be out playing in a Lions jersey.
“Not until you get back playing again from any injury can you really forget about it and put it behind you.
“It’s not so much the incident itself, it’s just the injury that happened. A dislocated shoulder is going to keep you out for a long time, so once I was back playing everything was behind me.
“I always hoped I would get on this Lions tour. It’s exciting every day putting on Lions training kit because you know you have to bring your ‘A’ game to training. If you don’t, you get shown up very quickly.
“I think I have played 24 games this year, and touch wood, for the most part, I’ve been fairly injury-free.
“Those sort of factors make a huge difference, and you are able to get continuity of performance, which counts for a huge amount.”
O’Driscoll’s potential worth to the Lions cannot be quantified.
He is a proven match-winner and offers a pivotal midfield presence for the tourists in their quest to rock world champions South Africa and repeat the famous 1997 Test series triumph on Springbok soil.
“Brian has had a great year,” acknowledged Lions assistant coach Warren Gatland.
“He looks as if he is really on top of his game, and he is very important to us. You can tell his class in the environment we have.
“He may only play a couple of games before the first Test, and we are conscious of looking after him given the fact we don’t have a lot of cover in the midfield positions at the moment.
“It is up to the forwards to do a good job, get on the front foot and deliver some quality ball to take the pressure off him.”