BOD On Gatland’s Welsh Lions Picks, Compares Him To Joe Schmidt

Tried and tested.

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has been accused of favouritism in selection his squad to tour New Zealand this summer. Gatland is bringing 12 Welshmen on tour with him, despite their shortcomings this season at club and international level.

In contrast, he’s only brought 2 Scottish players, despite Scotland having their most impressive season in recent memory both with Glasgow in Europe and the national side at this year’s Six Nations.

Ireland’s two leading province’s made the last four of the Champions Cup, are in line to finish 1st and 2nd in the PRO12 and finished second in the Six Nations, yet have one less player than Wales in the Lions squad.

Former Ireland and Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll has compared Gatland’s selection decisions to Joe Schmidt’s with Ireland. Schmidt spent a number of years with Leinster and has been accused of bias over the years. BOD thinks when there’s 50/50 calls, the coach will always go with the players he is familiar with.

“I’m not shocked at that at all. You see it the world over.
“We’ve seen it in Ireland for the first couple of years with Joe Schmidt’s tenure as Irish coach.
“He went time and time again on the 50-50 decisions back to the Leinster players he knew well, knew the personalities of and that had done a job for him.
“That’s the same with Warren Gatland and his Welsh players. He’s looked at the 50-50 calls and I think in every single case he went with a Welsh player.”
“I’m not overly shocked and there’s two things for that. He needs to go back and be Welsh coach again so why would you put some noses out of joint?

Incoming Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend refused a role with Gatland’s Lions team this summer, leaving the Scots with no coaching representative. O’Driscoll feels that played a huge part.

“And the second point was that there was no Scottish coach in the selection meetings batting for any Scotland players.
“You have to have someone trumpeting your calls and pushing your name forward in those very tight selections.
“Because there was no Scottish voice there, I think they lost out as a result of that.”

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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