Three England stars who were robbed of a British & Irish Lions call-up by Warren Gatland's 'bias' - Ruck

Three England stars who were robbed of a British & Irish Lions call-up by Warren Gatland’s ‘bias’

Warren Gatland, the seasoned coach behind three British & Irish Lions tours, often finds himself under scrutiny with allegations of favouritism towards Welsh players consistent throughout the years.

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These accusations have sparked debates regarding the selection process and the need for a more balanced representation of all British and Irish nations in the coaching staff.

Former Ireland captain and Lion, Rory Best, echoed sentiments of many when he advocated for a British or Irish head coach for the 2025 tour to Australia. Luckily for him, Andy Farrell has been confirmed as the head coach for the upcoming tour.

In an interview with RTE’s Game On in Ireland, Best emphasized the importance of inclusivity in coaching staff, stating, “I would like to see a British or Irish head coach. I’d like to see coaches from each of the four nations included in that.”

Best continued, “I think it gives you an even spread. There can be no arguments over selection.”

Criticism against Gatland’s alleged bias was not lost in Best’s comments. “The problem with this tour, if you were a bit cynical about it, there were a lot of Welsh and a lot of Scottish played at times,” Best stated. “I don’t think it should be the case of what voice is loudest in the room.”

“It should be an equal balance of that and then pick the best players,” he added.

Below we look at three England players who somehow missed out on a call-up despite being more than capable…

#1. Jonny May

onny well and truly announced himself on the international stage with an extraordinary maiden Test try against New Zealand in November 2014.

Jonny May of England goes over for a try and celebrates the try during the Summer International match between England and Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on August 26, 2023 in London, England. ( Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK )

His long-range run in the opening minutes illustrated his pace, panache, shimmy, check and go. Injury prevented him from playing in the subsequent Six Nations and touring Australia in June 2016 But he returned after 13 months’ absence with a try against South Africa at Twickenham that November. Jonny was the standout performer against the Springboks in the three-Test series, finishing the top scorer with three tries, including the match-winning score in Cape Town.

That form continued as he was top try scorer in the 2019 Six Nations as he crossed six times, and on the way to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final he crossed twice against Australia in the quarter-final on his 50th cap. May was called up to Steve Borthwick’s squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup after Anthony Watson was ruled out through injury.