Four years ago, George North and Paul O'Connell were at very different points in their careers. The Welsh winger was just 21 and on his first Lions tour. The Irish second row was 33, a little less than three years from retirement, and on his third Lions tour.
The two were paired together as roommates in Cardiff as the Lions prepared for the tour.
Still a raw youngster, North was worried about what his first words would be to O'Connell. Any fears he had about what it would be like to room with the former Ireland captain were allayed when O'Connell walked out of the shower singing a song by Shakira.
I don't know if Paul O'Connell will like me telling this story but I'm going to tell it anyway because it's a funny story.
So I was in camp in Cardiff and the rooming list comes up and I was sharing with Paul O’Connell. I walk in and I see Paulie’s bags on the floor. I’ve not really spoken to Paul apart from after a game, very briefly. So I’m thinking ‘oh my god what am I going to say to this man now.’ He's a legend, let’s face it, of the game and that’s not a word I like to bat around but he is, as you well know, a hero.
Anyway, so I’m sat there on the bed, waiting for him to come out and I’m thinking ‘Do I stand up? Shake his hand? Do I hug him? He’s in the shower so it’s weird now.’
While all this is going on, I start to hear him singing a song and in his broad Irish accent he starts singing Shakira, 'The hips don’t lie.' 'Oh baby when you talk like that,’ in the most Irish accent!
And then he goes, 'Shakira, Shakira,' and at that point I absolutely burst out laughing! And when he came out I just knew he’s good.
North told the story to Will Greenwood in a video for a Lions sponsor.
Forward to 3:50 below for the story.