South Africa v British & Irish Lions, Johannesburg, July 4
O'Driscoll ruled out of final Test
June 30, 2009
O'Driscoll receives treatment during Saturday's bruising clash with the Springboks in Pretoria © Getty Images
O'Driscoll suffered a concussion in a brutal collision with Springboks replacement Danie Rossouw that saw both players forced out of the game. He began the return to play medical protocol on Monday but it soon became clear at the start of the process that he was not going to be ready for a return to action in time for this weekend's clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The Leinster centre has been one of the Lions' stars of their 10-match South Africa trip, forging an outstanding midfield combination with Wales star Jamie Roberts. His 2005 tour ended in the first minute of the opening Test after he was spear-tackled by All Blacks players Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga.
"Being a part of the 2009 British & Irish Lions squad has been one of the highlights of my career," said O'Driscoll. "We were unbeaten leading into the Test matches and it is a shame that the results in the Tests did not go our way but sport comes down to fine margins at times.
"We could easily have won the first two Tests but it wasn't to be. I have decided to return home to my family this week after a very long season and to ensure I give myself every opportunity to recouperate."
O'Driscoll will fly home with Welsh prop Adam Jones who suffered a tour-ending dislocated shoulder in the same clash.
"It is always disappointing to be ruled out of a Test series through injury but I am proud of what the squad and I have achieved on the tour," added Jones. "Personally I will always remember playing in the two first Tests and especially running on for my debut in the starting XV at Loftus Versfeld. My heart will be with the boys on Saturday."
Fellow prop Gethin Jenkins, who suffered a broken cheekbone in the second Test, has also been ruled out of the rest of the tour but will remain with the squad. With just one match remaining on the tour the British & Irish Lions will not call for replacement players.
"The two other players who suffered injury in the second test, Tommy Bowe and Jamie Roberts, continue to be assessed on a daily basis but at this point they are making encouraging progress," said Lions team doctor James Robson.
Lions head coach Ian McGeechan is due to name his third Test line-up on Thursday.