Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga and Brian O'Driscoll insist they have forgiven each other and moved on from the "speargate" tackle that ended the Lions' skipper's 2005 tour of New Zealand - and hope the rest of the world can too.

O'Driscoll was ruled out of the rest of the series with a dislocated shoulder after he was upended in a tackle by Umaga and teammate Keven Mealamu 41 seconds into the first test in Christchurch.

The All Blacks went on to win the match 21-3 and the following two tests to complete a series whitewash.

The fallout from the controversy continued to follow both Umaga and O'Driscoll but 13 years on the pair have finally buried the hatchet.


"We were just chatting about it the other night. I get asked about it all the time," O'Driscoll told the Irish Examiner as he and Umaga fronted a promotion ahead of Sunday's test (NZT) between the All Blacks and Ireland in Dublin.

Tana Umaga and Brian O'Driscoll have finally buried the hatchet - 13 years after the controversial incident. Photo / Getty
Tana Umaga and Brian O'Driscoll have finally buried the hatchet - 13 years after the controversial incident. Photo / Getty

"In any Q&A over the last 13 years, it is probably the one question I can guarantee. It was talked about last year because it was that 12-year (Lions) cycle. We parked it a long time ago."

The former Ireland centre admits he and Umaga could have resolved their differences sooner.

Umaga shed light on the bad blood that lingered between the pair in his 2007 biography before they eventually shook hands in 2009. Both hope the matter can now finally be laid to rest.

"It was one of those things. Was it unfortunate? Yeah," said O'Driscoll. "Should you have dealt with it slightly differently? Yeah. You've got to move on. You can't bring those sorts of things through life.

"Listen, we're able to have a laugh and take the piss about it now, properly. Sometimes you don't get an opportunity to meet up with people in a controlled environment. We see each other at events here and there and have a quick word.

"Actually, to have a get-together and chew the fat and properly get to talk and not feel scared by it is refreshing and, I hope, it's dead after this."

British and Irish Lions fans reacted angrily to
British and Irish Lions fans reacted angrily to "speargate". Photo / Getty

Umaga, now preparing for his fourth season as coach of the Blues Super Rugby franchise, echoed O'Driscoll's sentiments, saying the opportunity for the pair to talk at length had helped heal old wounds.


"Exactly, we had a great dinner. That was the key thing for us, to have time together. You pass each other fleetingly at matches and engagements," he said.

"To really sit down and chew the fat around that was great. That's just part of this game.

"We can't change the past. Yet, it is something whenever I do something that I get asked about and it is well settled between us, put it behind us. As Brian has said, hopefully, this will really put it behind people and we will make peace with it now."