The Lions squad for the series deciding third Test against the Wallabies to be played on Saturday night has been announced, with touring veteran and Irish international centre Brian O’Driscoll being left out of the team altogether.
Keeping in mind that O’Driscoll has started in both previous Tests and that he will be retiring from Lions touring after this series is over the news has been met with some shock by the Australian rugby media.
The rumour was that O’Driscoll would be handed the Lions captaincy in the absence of 24-year-old Sam Warburton, who will miss the final Test with a hamstring injury. That honour has instead been handed to Welsh second rower Alun Wyn Jones, who found himself at the centre of a disciplinary storm this week after being stamped on by Australian captain James Horwill during the first Test in Brisbane.
While no official statement on the team selection has yet been released by Coach Gatland or any of the Lions camp, it seems the 49-year-old coach has thrown sentiment out the window.
In other team news, Welsh inside-centre Jaime Roberts has passed a late fitness test and has been named in the starting XV for Saturday’s decider.
Full Lions Squad for the third Test: Backs – Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Jonny Sexton, Mike Phillips. Forwards – Toby Faletau, Sean O’Brien, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Geoff Parling, Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola, Richie Gray, Justin Tipuric, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi