Thursday 22 February 2018

Reaction to Warren Gatland's decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll

Ruadhri O'Connor sifts through the reaction

KEITH WOOD

(Ex-Ireland captain and Lions hooker)

"Gatland has side-stepped what the Lions is all about and that is the blending of four countries using the talent at his disposal and building a game plan around that.

"I think he has gone over with a pre-ordained game plan, I think it does the Lions a disservice and we see it in our greatest rugby player being dropped for the first time in his career.

"I'm upset for the Lions and I'm upset for Brian.

"Brian gets the Lions more than Warrren Gatland does, if I'm brutally honest.

"Brian was the one who was rolled out this week to talk to the media about what it means. I think it is a poor decision."

EDDIE O'SULLIVAN

(Former Ireland coach and Lions assistant coach)

"With Paul O'Connell and Sam Warburton gone, it beggars belief to go without one of the most experienced captains in the game of rugby – to go into the final Test without him based on the fact that you just want to batter people doesn't make a ton of logic.

"For him to go out on Saturday, lead the Lions and win the Test series would have been the ultimate icing on a phenomenal career.

"The notion that he will have some sort of leadership role around the team when he is not in the 23 is asinine. If he doesn't have a role on the field, he won't have one off it."

WILLIE JOHN MCBRIDE

(Legendary Lions captain)

"I was absolutely gutted. The first thing that came into my mind was that (Robbie) Deans, the Australian coach, must be laughing.

"The Australian media and others – Eddie Jones, the previous Australian coach – have convinced them to drop O'Driscoll, which I find amazing. He was the guy I would have tipped as captain of the tour."

STUART BARNES

(Former England and Lions out-half and Sky pundit)

"It's all about leadership. The Lions had Paul O'Connell, O'Driscoll and Sam Warburton. Now they have no real leadership. Gatland is saying you pick your best 15 and then work out who leads the team.

"That is not how it is and it's not how New Zealand picked Richie McCaw. The captain is the crucial man in this team. Australia have captain James Horwill and scrum-half Will Genia – who do the Lions have?"

SHANE BYRNE

(Former Ireland and Lions hooker)

"Brian hasn't been dropped in favour for him (Roberts). He's been dropped for Jonathan Davies, which I cannot understand. He played better than Davies last weekend and you should be judged on your last game, surely?

"This has certainly soured the whole thing for a lot of people, in particular Irish people."

JONATHAN DAVIES

(Former Wales international)

"We haven't had a backline which has functioned very well. He (Gatland) has put his neck on the block and gone with the players he thinks can do a job for him, which we have seen them do for Wales.

"If he wins the game and the series no one will complain. I am surprised Brian isn't on the bench."

AND HOW TWITTER REACTED...

Matt Giteau (@giteau_rugby)

Gee dropping @BrianODriscoll out of the team is a huge call.. For mine, he has been the stand out unsung hero this series.. Defensively huge

Brian O'Driscoll @BrianODriscoll

@giteau_rugby cheers man, hard one to take.

Matt Williams @MattRCNM

While Wallabys look for more leaders in Smith for a massive game Lions cull one of the greats.Utter stupidity.

Simon Shaw @ShawseyShaw

Everyone turns into an expert on international coaching all of a sudden. Garlands won 10 titles in club and international rugby inc 2 GSlams

Rob Henderson @robhendo13

But knowing the man that he is, he will be fully supportive of the team between now and the final whistle #truepro

Richard Wigglesworth @rwiggy9

Would have had BOD starting and captain. The biggest of big game players. When in doubt coaches always go with who they know and trust.

Bernard Jackman @bernardjackman

Lions drop a World Class player in Brian O'Driscoll and the Wallabies bring one back in George Smith!!

Lawrence Dallaglio @dallaglio8

BOD is a surprise for sure.. Lions main problems were up front last week. No possession and No territory to launch a decent attack.

Will Greenwood @GreenwoodRugby

Incredible range of opinions re Selection... Gatland will do his own explaining but "Ballsy" re Bod is an understatement

Austin Healey @IamAustinHealey

I actually thought BOD played well last week made some decisive big tackles ...big call has Gatland panicked?

Donncha O'Callaghan @donchaOC

"Harsh call by Gatland to leave O Driscoll out of the starting team, but out of the bench too #madness #Lions."

Irish Independent

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