Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Gatland explains his call

03rd July 2013 17:31


SKY_MOBILE British Irish Lions Warren Gatland

Tough decision: Gatland

British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland believes he has made the right call by leaving Brian O'Driscoll out of this week's clash with Australia.

O'Driscoll was left out of the matchday 23 by the Wales head coach as he instead opted for Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in his midfield.

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

"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."