British & Irish Lions 2013: O’Driscoll replaces O’Connell as captain
British & Irish Lions 2013: Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll will captain Warren Gatland's men against Western Force on Wednesday
Brian O’Driscoll will captain the British and Irish Lions against Western Force on Wednesday as one of eight Ireland players named in a completely changed starting line-up.
O’Driscoll, playing in his fourth Lions tour, will lead the side in the continued absence of Wales’ Six Nations Grand Slam winning captain Sam Warburton, who is recovering from a knee problem.
Gatland has made 15 changes to the side that started the 59-8 victory over the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday, ensuring Paul O’Connell, captain that day, is rested.
Along with O’Driscoll, Tommy Bowe, Jonny Sexton, Connor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip have all been selected to start.
For O’Driscoll it is a return to Perth, the city where he started his first game for the Lions at full-back in 2001.
“I am a bit more comfortable playing at 13 this time,” O’Driscoll said. “It is very exciting. I haven’t lost any of the buzz about being involved with the Lions. It is still a very special place to be.
“Now we have finally arrived in Australia it feels like the tour has truly begun.
“We are in a good place. It is a very strong squad with huge competition for places, and you don’t want any bad individual or collective performance at this stage as we build towards the first Test.”