Lions 2013: Jonathan Davies 'dimension' excites Brian O'Driscoll

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll tackles Wales centre Jon Davies in the 2013 Six Nations
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll tackles Wales centre Jon Davies in the 2013 Six Nations

Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll believes that new British and Irish Lions centre partner Jonathan Davies brings a "different dimension" to midfield.

The Welshman has impressed on the tour of Australia, particularly against NSW Waratahs in which he scored a try and gave the final pass for three others.

But injuries to Jamie Roberts and Manu Tuilagi ensure Davies starts at 12 in Saturday's first Test in Brisbane.

"I'm excited about playing alongside him [Davies]," O'Driscoll said.

"He had a massive performance against the Waratahs last week and if Jamie and Manu were fit there were going to be some serious headaches for Gats [Lions head coach Warren Gatland].

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"That's not the case and it's myself and Jon together, so I'm looking forward to playing off him as much as I have done with the other boys."

O'Driscoll, 34 and on his fourth Lions tour, has played just 25 minutes with Davies, 25, going into the opening clash with the Wallabies - in the 64-0 romp against a Combined Country XV.

Scarlets centre Davies is also usually an outside centre like O'Driscoll, but has been asked to fill the 12 shirt against the Wallabies.

However, with some hard graft on the training field behind them, the Leinster star is sure that he and Davies can form a potent combination.

"He's an incredibly rounded footballer, the way he can carry the ball extremely hard, but he has a great range of skills as well," O'Driscoll added.

"He probably identifies space better than a lot of guys that I've played beside.

"Obviously no disrespect to Jamie and Manu, I think Jon brings a slightly different dimension - he's got another big mixture to his game."

Davies and blind-side flanker Tom Croft did not train on Friday, but Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell insists there is no concern over the fitness.

"Tom has inflammation in a toe but there's nothing to worry about whatsoever. The right thing was for him to rest today," Farrell said.

"Jon didn't train either because of the intensity of the two sessions yesterday. He was just stiff.

"You can tell it's Test week, there's a buzz about the place. The work ethic is on a different level,"

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