Lions in Australia

Gatland explains BOD axing

2013-07-03 20:30
Warren Gatland (AFP)
Sydney - British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland has explained his decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll from the final Test against Australia.

Planet Rugby reports that Gatland maintained that by dropping O'Driscoll from his match day 23 was the right decision and that sentiment was thrown out of the window.

"It's only hard because you are making the decision by using your head and not your heart," Gatland said.

"Then you realise that what comes of making a decision like that is all the peripheral stuff - not the rugby decision - because it becomes a major story or 48 hours and it becomes a debate.

"That is the process I've gone through myself.

"If I go back to the UK after this and say 'did I make the decision because I believe it's the right decision?' or 'did I make the decision because it was the right political decision or sentiment?'

"I have to put hand on my heart and say it's the right rugby decision.

"I would hate to think we had made calls on trying to avoid criticism or public favour or perception.

"He has been a big part of the story of this tour. He played in the first two Tests and he has been a part of a win and a loss.

"He is obviously very, very disappointed, as any player would be, but it's like everything, it's a learning process.

"It's kind of hard when you've been the number one in your position for so long, for 15 years, and first choice on every team you've been a part of, and on every Lions team you've been the first choice as well.

"There have been a lot of people under him who have experienced the disappointment of Brian O'Driscoll always being selected over them. It's just part of sport, isn't it?

"Sometimes it happens and we've made a really tough decision, a tough call and that's part of it."
 

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