Tuesday 16 January 2018

George Hook: I'm not remotely surprised, BOD should have retired

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll

GEORGE Hook has reiterated his stance that Brian O'Driscoll should have hung up his boots last year and is not "remotely surprised" that Ireland's record tryscorer has been dropped.

Irish rugby fans woke to the shocking news that O'Driscoll has been axed from Warren Gatland's mathday 23 for Saturday's deciding test with Australia but Hook believes the decision had been on the cards.

"I don't understand why everyone is surprised? Actually I can. This tour has been dreadfully reported to the Irish people that O'Driscoll has being playing brilliantly because he is not. It is being reported back to the Irish people that this is a very good Lions team which it is not," he said.

"It's been reported back that Gatland is doing a good job which he is not. He is now up against a wall.

"He's gone back to what he knows best which is 10 Welshmen, he is basically saying can Wales beat Australia in Australia? I think not.

"Why has he dropped O'Driscoll? There is no doubt that his plan was to play Roberts and Davies in the centre.

"They know that they play the Welsh blanket defence, there is a Weksh full-back. It stood to reason, then Roberts got hurt and so he had to do a mix and match center partnership with two outside centres  Davies playing out of position at inside centre. It never worked.

"He plays a game that O'Driscoll doesn't strive to. Anyone who seen O'Driscoll's aftermatch interview last Saturday. He clearly unhappy," Hook said on RTE Radio this morning.

"I suspect that Gatland wasn't going to pick someone who clearly wasn't happy with his system anyway.

"I'm not remotely surprised by this. I can't understand why everyone is jumping up and down."

The rugby commentator is disappointed that the 2005 Lions captain career will end in such a fashion.

"I think O'Driscoll should have retired last year. He is now going to finish his career not the way the greatest player of his generation should have finished it," he added

"I'm incredibly sad for him. This is one of the greatest players we have ever seen. This is a rubbish coach trying to defend his reputation when he has failed on the Lions tour. O'Driscoll is the fall guy for it.

"You can't look at Brian O'Driscoll over a 15 year period. You have to look at Brian O'Driscoll for the last 15 days.

"He had a poor match  against Australia in the first test.

"For O'Driscoll to hand out an intercept pass in the second test is so unlike him. He hasn't handled the ball in an attacking move in two test matches.

"If you are not going to give him the ball in an attacking sense, if you're not going to use O'Driscoll at what he's good at then why bother picking him? Why would you put the lead violinist banging the drums?

"This is essentially what Warren Gatland has done in the first two tests.

"This Van Gogh of rugby's best work is now being sold in second-hand shops. He is being hard-done by by people who don't deserve to lace his boots."

*Read more from George Hook in the Irish Independent in the coming days

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