Brian O’Driscoll slams Warren Gatland over Lions mess
Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball on Tuesday evening, Brian O’Driscoll has slammed Warren Gatland’s decision not to use his bench during the Lions collapse against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.
Welsh quartet Kristian Dacey, Cory Hill, Gareth Davies and Tom Francis along with Scottish duo Allan Dell and Finn Russell were controversially called up as cover by Gatland nearly a fortnight ago.
After the match, which saw the tourists give up a 16-point lead to draw 31-31, Gatland said that criticism of the call-ups had been a factor in deciding not to use his bench.
“It absolutely is [a mess],” said O’Driscoll
“Warren Gatland has made a mistake there personally because he’s not staying strong with his convictions.
“He talks about protecting the 23, there’s a chance that he hasn’t protected the 23. Someone like Iain Henderson could easily feature this week. Yet he hasn’t been protected because he had to go and play the full 80 minutes, granted he did spend 10 minutes in the sin bin.
“He’s gone and played a full game on the Tuesday. Say he’s on the bench [for the second Test] and there’s an injury in the first minute or two, he plays 78 minutes.
“That’s 70 minutes on a Tuesday and then 78 minutes on a Saturday and he’s talking about protecting Test players.
“I don’t see how that’s good business at all.
And O’Driscoll, who handed out the team jerseys ahead of the first Test, revealed that he has heard the six players in question have not felt part of the Lions camp.
“From what I’ve heard, those players that have been involved feel no part of it whatsoever,” explained the Lions legend
“He’s done a disservice to them aswell because they feel that they’re unused cannon fodder. I think they’re just waiting to head home. I think they head home tomorrow [Thursday]. I don’t think that worked.
“You can’t have a front row on for 80 minutes. When was the last time you had a front row on for 80 minutes? That’s doing players a disservice, irrespective of whether they’re Test players or not.”