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O’Driscoll Recalls “Exhilarating Sensation Of Flight”
Brian O’Driscoll, whose shoulder was dislocated in a controversial tackle by All Black’s Tana Umaga and Kevin Mealamu
during the Lion’s tour here this year, has released an account of his experiences in The Guardian newspaper. In it, he
talks of the “exhilarating sensation of flight” he experienced during the tackle. Writes O’Driscoll:
“I was leaning against Jerry Collins as the AB’s cleared the ruck out, when I felt the hooker Mealamu, trying to lift
me by the leg. Being 14 stone plus, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so instinctively I yelled ‘Tana, you help him
“Tana is a gentleman and a warrior, and he understood immediately what to do. As he joined his team-mate and grabbed me
high on my left leg, I experienced for the first time the exhilarating sensation of flight.
“Surely this must have been what the Wright Brothers felt at Kittyhawk - that marvellous, transcendent feeling of
weightlessness that overcame me as I ascended higher and higher into the air...
“‘Tana, it’s like I’m flying!’ I called out - and indeed I was, soaring high above the continuing play far below me, I
stretched out my arms and let the cool Christchurch breezes kiss my upturned face. Surely no Lion’s captain had ever
soared so high in their first 40 seconds!”
O’Driscoll goes on to describe the sickening moment when he knew something was wrong, the sickening moment as he began
to descend, the sickening moment of impact, the sickening moment when he knew his tour was over, and the sickening
moment when the doctors told him he may never fly again. However, he does go on to praise Umaga in particular; in a text
to the All Blacks captain, O’Driscoll wrote “I may have soared higher than an eagle - but you were the wind beneath my
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