Ice cool ahead of fiery first Lions tour match

Former Munster out-half Ronan O’Gara believes the Lions making their debuts tomorrow in Hong Kong will be given a massive boost after Warren Gatland named Paul O’Connell captain for the opening match.

O’Gara soldiered with O’Connell for Munster, Ireland and the Lions and heralded the Limerick second row as one of the best he ever played under.

“The tour officially started with that announcement,” he wrote in his exclusive Irish Examiner column on Page 27 of today’s paper.

“There will be no uncertainty now, because it’s no longer a bonus fixture against the BaBas. The fellas getting a start are getting a nice treat with him as leader.

“There is little doubt now but that they will hit the ground running.

“In 2009, the tone was set on the first day in the meeting room by Paulie in Pennyhill Park Hotel. He spoke from the heart and within 15 minutes of coming together, the mood for the tour was set. Fantastic. O’Connell is a perfectionist. He’s a very powerful and impressive figure when he stands up.”

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