"Persistent rumours" - Warren Gatland's shock return to international rugby - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

“Persistent rumours” – Warren Gatland’s shock return to international rugby


4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland): The 2009 Lions captain was one of the tour leaders once again in 2013 with his high work-rate, experience and inspirational presence. Sadly missed on the pitch after fracturing his arm in first Test. Edged Maro Itoje into Warren Gatland’s dream Lions XV.

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales): Became a firm fixture in 2013, and was handed the leadership duties when Sam Warburton was injured. Led by example in Sydney climax and proved himself real captaincy material. Fantastic again four years later.


6. Sean O’Brien (Ireland): Deputised well for crocked skipper Warburton during final Test and showed his versatility during the tour, appearing in all three positions across the back-row.  Intense and physical against the All Blacks, scoring one of the most memorable tries of all-time.

7. Sam Warburton (Wales): In 2013, his marvellous performance in the second Test when he showed his power and ability at the breakdown. But tour was book-ended by injuries and he sat out Third Test decider. Returned to lead the side once against the All Blacks in 2017.

8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales): Gatland got it wrong when he left the Welsh workhorse out of the opening two Tests in 2013 after shining in franchise games but when he got the call he was immense. Outstanding tour again four years later. Crucial try in Second Test win.

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