Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll has criticised Warren Gatland for making Peter O’Mahony a scapegoat after the All Blacks 30-15 victory over the Lions in the first Test.
‘Very tough on Peter O’Mahony going from skipper to non-23,’ wrote O’Driscoll on Twitter, before adding: ‘Has to be someone to point the finger at in defeat.’
Very tough on Pete O’Mahony going from skipper to non 23. He’ll come again.
— Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) June 29, 2017
Despite protests that the switch was made for tactical reasons, O’Driscoll responded: ‘He was captain and now isn’t togging out. Read between the lines.’
Gatland said O’Mahony was ‘very unlucky’ to be omitted but insisted Warburton was the right option for the second Test.
“It was a tough call,” said the Lions head coach.
“We need to get some pressure on the ball and that is something Sam is excellent at doing and he has got some rugby under his belt now.
“Peter has done a great job for us. He’s unlucky that we have choices and can use different combinations.
“We could have put Peter on the bench and we had a long discussion about that, but CJ Stander has had an outstanding Six Nations and was good the other night with his carries and his physicality, so the impact he is able to bring off the bench could be significant.”