Thursday 14 December 2017

Lions paying for failure to sign up Schmidt – Dwyer

RUGBY Ruaidhri O'Connor

FORMER Australia coach Bob Dwyer believes Lions boss Warren Gatland's big mistake was not dropping Brian O'Driscoll but deciding not to invite Joe Schmidt to be his backs coach.

Gatland has come under fire from all quarters after ruthlessly culling Irish legend O'Driscoll from his match-day 23, but that decision did not surprise Dwyer – unlike his earlier call to ignore the claims of new Ireland coach Schmidt, who guided Leinster to four trophies in three years, playing attractive rugby.

"When Joe Schmidt took over at Leinster I felt he added something extra," the man who coached the Wallabies to the 1991 World Cup told the Irish Independent.

"Schmidt really showed his worth during his time there and the fact that the Lions couldn't find a spot on their coaching team for him may ultimately cost them.

"Why wasn't he included? Surely it wasn't that one Kiwi didn't want another on board? I can't believe that. I have absolutely no doubt that Schmidt could have added something to the Lions attacking game."`

The decision to drop O'Driscoll was less of a shock to Dwyer.

"When the squad was chosen, I thought he would be lucky to make the Test team. So now people are fit he hasn't made it, which is not hard to understand," he said.

"I don't think he has been at his best all year.

"What stood out for me during Ireland's Six Nations games was that he fell off a few tackles, which is absolutely unlike him.

"He has got truckloads of courage, but something else wasn't there."

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