Having been (literally) dumped out of the 2005 Lions tour by NZ it was another Kiwi, current Lions and Welsh Coach Warren Gatland, that made the decision to dump O’Driscoll this time around.
UK rugby fans awoke this morning to the news that the Brian O’Driscoll will not be in the starting XV that will face Australia to decide the 2013 Lions Test Series. In fact, he won’t even be on the bench.
O’Driscoll was expected to be announced as captain for the 3rd Test, after Sam Warburton was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Instead, “BoD” will watch the final game of his Lions career from the stands.
The Irish centre has played 18 games in Lions reds, but his form in this year’s tour has been questioned.
Defensively, O’Driscoll is has looked solid, tackling and stealing the ball in both tests. In fact, he’s made the most tackles without a miss in the Series. 23 tackles. No misses.
Many people have been reacting to BoD’s omission from the squad. Here’s a sample of just a few familiar names:
“Warren Gatland has panicked…Brian O’Driscoll is a great player. Take him out and who is going to be the leader? There is not anyone any more… Sorry but you have just handed to series to Australia.”
– David Campese
“He has gone with horses for courses… If he wins the game and the series no one will complain. I do feel it is very, very one dimensional and I am surprised Brian isn’t on the bench.”
– Jonathan Davies
“I just think Gatland has made a terrible mistake.”
– Keith Wood
“This has been a great tour, happy, players mixing with fans, everything’s been lovely and… this morning it’s all gone to pieces… the saddest fact of all is that he’s not even in the 23.”
– Phil Bennett
“To not have that experience in the 23 at all is amazing… For the life of me, I cannot fathom why he [Gatland] has done it… is he just making a statement that he can do this?”
– Shane Byrne
“Warren Gatland is saying you pick out your best XV and then you work out your captain… That is not how it is and that is not how the All Blacks thinks about Richie McCaw… I look at this Lions team and I am really concerned”
– Stuart Barnes
“With the risk of being banned from Ireland for life, I agree with what Warren Gatland’s done”
– Gareth Thomas
“I think it is a very bad decision. He has been one of the best centres in world rugby for 12 years, I would still have him, in top four centres in the world.”
– Ian Robertson, BBC Sport
“Gatland’s move suggests the very essence of ‘bottling'”
– Oliver Brown, Telegraph
Video from Germany
– Adolf Hitler
As for O’Driscoll himself? He moved on and displayed the class that has respected across the globe by coaching, and signing autographs for, dozens of local kids. He simply tweeted:
“Obviously totally gutted at being left out for the deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through.”
You stay classy Brian O’Driscoll…