McGeechan would have picked BOD

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 16:08
Large ian mcgeechan cheers 630

Legendary B&I Lions coach Ian McGeechan said that he would have picked Brian O'Driscoll for the crunch Test against Australia.

Legendary British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan added to the pressure on Warren Gatland by saying that he would have picked Brian O'Driscoll for the crunch Test against Australia.

New Zealander Gatland, who as Ireland coach gave O'Driscoll his international debut, has been engulfed in controversy ever since omitting the 34-year-old star centre from what many would thought would be his Lions swansong.

Saturday's match in Sydney is also the decider in a three-match campaign the Lions must win if they are to record their first series victory in 16 years.

Former Scotland centre McGeechan, in charge of victorious Lions tours in Australia (1989) and South Africa (1997), said he would have stuck with the midfield duo of Jamie Roberts and O'Driscoll he deployed four years ago, rather than partner Roberts with Welsh colleague Jonathan Davies as Gatland has done.

"I would have paired Brian O'Driscoll with Jamie Roberts for the third Test in Sydney. For me, they are the best centre partnership in world rugby," McGeechan wrote in Friday's UK Daily Telegraph.

"They showed that in the two Tests they played in South Africa four years ago, before both were injured," added McGeechan, coach of the Lions side that lost to the Springboks in 2009 when Gatland was one of his assistants.

However, McGeechan, who represented the Lions on their unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974, said while "that would have been my call against Australia it has not been Warren Gatland's".

"And I would not criticise it. Selection, particularly on a Lions tour, is a very personal thing...And Warren obviously feels this is the best way forward."

Gatland, seconded to the Lions from his 'day job' as Wales coach has also been slammed for selecting 10 Welshmen in his starting XV for Saturday's must-win game.

Critics have pointed out how Wales have lost their last eight Tests against Australia but a diplomatic McGeechan said of Gatland: "He most certainly will not see it as a Welsh way. He will see it as a Lions way. These players are Lions now."

McGeechan said the presence of "complete centre" O'Driscoll, not even on the bench for Saturday's match, would have been especially valuable after tour captain Sam Warburton, another Wales star, was ruled out through injury.

"He is also a great leader. I worry that the Lions will miss that sort of influence," McGeechan added of O'Driscoll, appointed captain for the 2005 tour of New Zealand only to be injured barely minutes into the first Test against the All Blacks following a controversial 'spear' tackle.

"There are players out there that have not been in the pressure situations that Brian has faced countless times down the years.

"When it is bedlam all round, he has the ability to remain calm and see just what is needed tactically for the next five or 10 minutes.

"Not everyone has that gift."

AFP

Sharks vs Stormers
sast: 17h15 | local: 17h15

  • 0 | 0
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 April 2018
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0