'I don't think he's had enough credit' - Warren Gatland on how Brian O'Driscoll showed his 'true character' after Lions omission
Lions coach Warren Gatland has opened up on his decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll ahead of the final test against Australia in 2013, heaping praise on the legendary Irish skipper for the professional way in which he reacted to the surprise axing.
The Kiwi was ultimately vindicated after the Lions trounced the Wallabies in the Sydney decider, and Gatland is back again four years later as the side prepare to tour New Zealand.
A lot of time has passed since Gatland made the shock selection decision, but it is still a point of contention for many Irish fans.
In an interview with Lions media, Gatland expresses his admiration for how O'Driscoll handled the crushing disappointment at missing out on the third test in 2013.
"Forget about winning the third test and forget about the difficult decision that was made," Gatland said on the Lions Youtube channel.
"The most impressive thing about that was the way Brian O'Driscoll handled himself. I don't think he's had enough credit for that.
"He could have come out and slagged me off. He released a book soon after. I'm sure there was a lot of pressure on him to talk about the incident. The way he kept his council and his professionalism and the way he handled himself, I've got a huge amount of respect for him for that.
"I know as the great player he was and the top sportsman he was, I know he was hurting about not being selected. He was incredibly impressive about responding to that disappointment and showing his true character."