Gordon D’Arcy On Why Sean O’Brien Had To Speak Out About Lions Mismanagement
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Gordon D’Arcy is the latest former professional to support Sean O’Brien and his comments about the Lions.
O’Brien made headlines last week after coming out and stating that the Lions could have won the Test series against the All Blacks, if it were not for mismanagement by Warren Gatland and his team, particularly when it came to training sessions before the Test games.
He also stated that attack coach Rob Howley failed to impose his game plan on the team, with playmakers Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton leading the line ahead of the second Test in Wellington.
Gordon D’Arcy, who toured with the Lions in 2005 and 2009, says who are we to question a man who clearly saw a weakness in the All Blacks team.
The Lions tour exposed New Zealand at the low water mark in their recycling of greatness. While shifting from one generation to the next they also suffered a heavy injury toll that left them susceptible to the unthinkable: defeat on home soil.
Seanie and others like him looked into the whites of their eyes and recognised a wounded animal. He saw the opportunity to win the series “3-0” and who are we to question a man climbing from the trenches? He was out there, along with Maro Itoje, driving the knife in.
Seanie feels the Lions were short-changed by those tasked with moulding their game plan. So much so, the officer class felt compelled to take over tactical manoeuvres.
I think more context supporting O’Brien’s comments will arrive in due course. But if a player genuinely feels they could have been better prepared surely there’s an onus on him to say so. I can picture myself in Seanie’s skin. ‘We just drew a Test series in New Zealand and I was tired going into two Test matches because of a flawed training load’.
That needed to come out.
D’Arcy also says there’s no doubt in his mind that O’Brien said what he said last week to Gatland at the time.
Everything Seanie said to the media last week he said to Warren Gatland at the time. In Ireland camp he would speak up but the desire or need is rarely as strong.
O’Brien is a talker according to D’Arcy, who played with the back-row for many years with both Leinster and Ireland.
Seanie is a talker. Always has been, even since he was a young lad understudying to Rocky Elsom. It’s his nature. He questions things, it motivates him. He used to miss the dart board a few times but now he knows precisely who he is and how little time is remaining.
Let’s look at this another way: did he raise some important questions?
I would contend he did. At the very least it deserves debate. A solution can be whatever the individual coach or player perceives it to be but the Lions should benefit on the South Africa tour in 2021.
You can read D’Arcy’s piece in The Irish Time in full here.