04/07/2013 09:48 BST | Updated 04/07/2013 09:54 BST

Brian O'Driscoll's British And Irish Lions Career (PICTURES)

The curtain came down on Ireland star Brian O'Driscoll's British and Irish Lions before the final act on Wednesday, when coach Warren Gatland omitted him from the third Test team to play Australia.

Killed off in favour of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts, O'Driscoll will not even be among the supporting cast of replacements and will instead take his seat with the audience in Sydney.

Australia is his fourth and final trip as a Lion - only his fellow Irishmen Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson have featured on more tours - but his career in the famous red shirt is destined to be remembered as one blighted by misfortune, injury and defeat.

O'Driscoll stands dejectedly after the Lions' second Test loss to Australia


The 22-year-old O'Driscoll had burst on to the scene as Irish rugby's new shining midfield star, and he did not disappoint when he stepped up a level after being selected as part of coach Graham Henry's tour squad.

He scored a try on his Lions debut - a record 116-10 rout of Western Australia at the WACA Ground in Perth - while he also shone with touchdowns against the Reds and Waratahs.

But it was in the first Test at Brisbane's Gabba that he showcased his brilliance, scoring a stunning solo try as the Lions romped home 29-13. Australia hit back, though, winning at Melbourne and Sydney, and the series was lost 2-1.


England's World Cup-winning mastermind Sir Clive Woodward took charge for the expedition to All Black country, but it was to prove a dismal tour - both for the Lions and O'Driscoll.

The Irishman was a popular choice as Woodward's captain, but the Lions never really got going, despite O'Driscoll scoring a try during a defeat against New Zealand Maori in Hamilton.

Dan Carter-inspired New Zealand were overwhelming favourites for the Test series - which they went on to win 3-0 - but O'Driscoll's involvement lasted just 77 seconds of the opening rubber in Christchurch when he dislocated his shoulder after being controversially spear-tackled by All Blacks pair Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu. Both All Blacks escaped punishment.


O'Driscoll had turned 30 by the time the Lions headed to South Africa in pursuit of Test series glory for a first time since they toppled the Springboks 2-1, 12 years previously.

O'Driscoll was a key part of coach Ian McGeechan's plans, and alongside Welshman Roberts they served immediate notice of a quality partnership by starring in a midweek rout of the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

They were paired together in the first and second Tests in Durban and Pretoria - Roberts went on to be named Lions player of the series - but O'Driscoll's tour ended early and he missed the final game due to concussion.

O'Driscoll bows out of the second Test against South Africa


It was testament to O'Driscoll's consistent high-class form for Ireland and Leinster that his selection to make a fourth Lions tour - this time back to where it all started for him 12 years ago - was never in serious doubt.

He scored two tries against Western Force, and another in a 64-0 romp past a Combined Country XV, and then partnered Welshman Davies for the opening two Tests against Australia, one ending in victory and the other a one-point defeat.

With tour skipper Sam Warburton injured for this Saturday's Test series decider in Sydney, O'Driscoll was widely expected to take the reins, but head coach Warren Gatland made him a shock omission from his match-day 23 and a famous Lions chapter drew to its close.