'I'd feel hard done by if I was Scottish': Brian O'Driscoll surprised at Lions' Scottish snub

There was no place for Scotland's Finn Russell in the British and Irish Lions sqaud.
LEE SMITH/REUTERS

There was no place for Scotland's Finn Russell in the British and Irish Lions sqaud.

Former British and Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll has joined the chorus expressing disappointment at the paucity of Scots in Warren Gatland's 2017 Lions party.

Speaking on BT Sport's Facebook page after the announcement, the 2005 Lions skipper and former Ireland leader admitted his heart went out to Scotland.

"Beat Ireland, beat Wales - if I was Scottish I would feel hard done by. It's the first time since 1908 they haven't had a representative in the pack," O'Driscoll said.

Joe Launchbury of England also misses out on a place.
DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES

Joe Launchbury of England also misses out on a place.

The Herald newspaper in Scotland noted that Glasgow Warriors duo Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour were the only Scottish representatives, pointing out that "Scotland won all three of their home games against Ireland, Wales and Italy at this year's Six Nations but were narrowly beaten in France and suffered a thrashing at the hands of England at Twickenham".

READ MORE:
Two Kiwis named in Lions squad
Reason: Ignoring scots a tactical error

However, the shortage of Scots would not have surprised The Scotsman's rugby correspondent - former Scotland flanker Iain Morrison.

Stuart Hogg is one of only two Scots in the 2017 British and Irish Lions squad.
IAN MACNICOL/GETTY IMAGES

Stuart Hogg is one of only two Scots in the 2017 British and Irish Lions squad.

He only named three Scots in his speculative touring team published prior to the announcement  - Hogg, centre Duncan Taylor and first-five Finn Russell with locks Jonny and Richie Gray, flanker Hamish Watson and wing Seymour in the "unlucky" category.

Former Scotland hooker and captain Gordon Bulloch said the lack of Scots in the Lions pack was "disappointing", but he told BBC Radio Scotland that the heavy loss to England at Twickenham "really put paid to a lot of these guys' chances".

"It was a Welsh and English-based coaching squad, and that's likely to count for a lot.

Ben Te'o makes the cut.
SHAUN BOTTERILL/GETTY IMAGES

Ben Te'o makes the cut.

"These guys are working with the players day in and day out. They know their strengths - and you also have to look back to the four or five-year histories of some of these players.

Ad Feedback

"They've been in big, clutch-type matches in Europe and the Six Nations."

Meanwhile, English rugby premiership leaders Wasps were stunned at their lock Joe Launchbury's omission.

"All gobsmacked here that Joe Launchbury wont be with @lionsofficial," Wasps said on their official Twitter feed.

But Gatland has also been praised for some bold selections.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Daniel Schofield said the selections of Ireland's Kiwi-born utility back Jared Payne and Welsh No 8 Ross Moriarty "demonstrate that the Lions coach is a very hard man to second guess". 

"While everyone thought there would be a return to "Warrenball", the presence of Jonathan Joseph, Elliot Daly and Payne shows that he intends on keeping his armoury fully stocked. Hopefully, there will be a couple more curveballs heading the All Blacks' way."

Schofield said Payne, who played Super Rugby for the Chiefs, Crusaders and Blues, was "a natural footballing option able to cover the centres and fullback" and may have clinched selection with a strong game in Ireland's win over England.

Moriarty, who plays for English club Gloucester, "fits far more snuggly into the Gatland mould far as a back-row destroyer".

ESPN Scrum rugby editor Tom Hamilton agreed other Scottish players could feel aggrieved at missing the cut.

But he said Gatland had picked a powerful squad to take on the All Blacks.

"At the heart of this squad is power. Ben Te'o, who has just eight England caps, exemplifies this, as do Moriarty, the Vunipola brothers, George North and Jamie George. They will be tasked with causing havoc in the New Zealand ranks.

"This is a big squad, built on power and an ability to run through the All Blacks, as well as around them. They will be the giants who will be looking to chop down the New Zealanders at source; give the Kiwis an inch and they will take a try."

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback