Friday 26 December 2014

Gatland's lack of vision is a great shame

Published 04/07/2013 | 05:00

* Brian O'Driscoll is the incarnation of the truism that form is temporary but class is permanent. His reaction to being cruelly axed from the Lions' squad says it all.

Though gutted, he put his own massive disappointment to rest and immediately saw the bigger picture in declaring it is up to "the boys to see it through".

With his back against a wall for the stale stilted brand of rugby he has been championing, Lions chief Warren Gatland has backed himself into a corner.

This test series should already be won. Caution, conservatism and an innate lack of creativity have given the kiss of life to the Wallabies.

Gatland's lack of vision is a great shame, but his decision to revert to the tried and the trusted in selecting 10 Welsh players is not surprising.

He put himself in a desperate situation and O'Driscoll has taken the hit. The Welsh contribution has been outstanding and for every joyous day in sport there has to be a loser in the reckoning too.

O'Driscoll has lost this time out; but he has sealed his place in the pantheon of legends of the oval ball, already. If honour, courage and consummate skill count for anything in rugby then O'Driscoll will walk away a giant, regardless of Saturday's result.

By contrast, the decision not to discipline the Australian captain James Horwill for the incident in which he appeared to stamp on the head of a new Lion's opponent, has upset all those who appreciate the true spirit of sport. It was not rugby's finest hour.

Test matches are supposed to be the pinnacle of the game after all. I hope the Lions win, but without the totemic O'Driscoll even allowing for his dip in form, it has become a much tougher task. Gatland has gone for dray horses when he needed thorough-breds.

Tommy Bowe, Johnny Sexton and Sean O'Brien – make your old mucker in the stands proud, in the name of BOD.

TG O'Brien

Ballsbridge, Co Dublin

THE WELSH LIONS

* What are the Lions supposed to stand for: The best that England Scotland, Ireland and Wales has to offer? Ten Welshmen? No Scots! Why did Gatland not just stick Neil Jenkins in instead of Johnny Sexton and put the tin hat on it? Sounds like panic stations to me. Brawn over brain and no Brian. Enough already.

DW Lawless

Killiney, Co Dublin

GONE WILD IN D4

* I ate a sandwich on a bench in leafy Herbert Park, Ballsbridge, yesterday. Within minutes I was surrounded by vermin. Eleven magpies got close and personal.

It was a positively Hitchcockian experience. They meant business – if birds could speak I imagine that they were saying, "Your sandwich or your eyeballs, Bud!"

They were joined by two grey squirrels – if squirrels could speak I'd say they were muttering, "Your sandwich or your nuts, Bud!" All that was missing was a few rats.

What, I ask, is the City Council going to do about this infestation? These creatures need to be culled, and swiftly.

Manus O'Toole

Milltown, Dublin 6

THE MEANING OF BONDS

* Your correspondent Ewald Gold describes himself as a German taxpayer who participated in helping to save Anglo Irish Bank. My understanding is that the bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank, who were in the majority German, were in fact bailed out by Irish taxpayers.

Contrast this with the treatment meted out to 155 Irish investors who bought Dresdner 6.25pc 2031 Bonds rated A in early 2005 which were marketed by Bloxham Stockbrokers. Unknown to the Irish investors the Dresdner Bond was subject to a swaps agreement contrived by Morgan Stanley.

In January 2009 during the bank crisis, the Dresdner Bond was downgraded by Standard and Poor's and Morgan Stanley took the opportunity to exercise the swaps agreement with the result that the Irish investors were left with only €0.03 per €1 invested.

Some of these investors have since received part settlements by Morgan Stanley under threat of legal proceedings but I and another known to me have received nothing.

It seems "bonds" have a different meaning when issued in the name of a German bank to Irish investors from those issued by an Irish bank to German investors.

John Caffrey

Greystones, Co Wicklow

OUTCOME FOR ANGLO

* It is at last encouraging to see that the DPP is considering criminal prosecutions against the Anglo Irish bankers following publication of the tapes by the Irish Independent.

It is unprecedented that the President has had to apologise to the world and to assure them that this was not representative of the Irish people.

How this will be received remains to be seen as the Irish accents would suggest they weren't exactly aliens spouting the foul-mouthed castigations of all and sundry in the financial world together with government figures to boot.

Those responsible for the creation of the current austerity should be brought under the hammer – such as those not doing their job like the regulator and senior bankers refusing to divulge the correct information for assessment purposes in establishing their net worth.

Nothing less than prosecutions will suffice in the recovery process.

Pat O'Grady

Pinner Middlesex, England

* So the Anglo Tapes may lead to prosecution.

In this case, can the Government re-examine sentencing for these crimes before any trial starts?

After all, we don't want to get to the end of a long, expensive trial to figure out you only get 12 months for defrauding the Irish public of over €200bn.

If lessons are to be learned from this, then they need to be harsh ones.

Pauline Bleach

Wolli Creek, Australia

OUR FAUX OUTRAGE

* We have to stop our faux outrage at being perceived as drunken morons by our friends around the world. The legislation for alcohol sponsorship in sporting circles being put on the backburner further emphasises the problem.

We welcome Queen Elizabeth to have a sip of the black stuff, Barack Obama tried it too and the images went around the world hammering home the point that all we do is drink.

I commend Minister James Reilly and Junior Minister Alex White for taking a stand against this regime.

David Patrick

Dunboyne, Co Meath

A HOME FOR SNOWDEN

* I have a suggestion regarding the applications for asylum by Edward Snowden. Has he tried the Vatican? Surely they would not refuse a good Christian.

He did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb. What he did was tell a great truth in an effort to prevent wars. He deserves protection under international and humanitarian law.

John Merren

Address with editor

Irish Independent

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