Brian O'Driscoll: Warren Gatland has made a mistake in Lions call-ups

He was speaking on Tuesday's Off The Ball

BY Cian Roche 13:47 Wednesday 28 June 2017, 13:47 28 Jun 2017

Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Brian O'Driscoll says Warren Gatland made a "mistake" with his Lions call-ups and agreed that the situation was a 'mess'.

The former British and Irish Lions captain said that the six players called up by Gatland as cover in his squad - Wales' Cory Hill, Tomas Francis, Kristian Dacey and Gareth Davies, as well as Scotland's Allan Dell and Finn Russell - had more to do with their proximity to the tour rather than a selection based on merit.

Their inclusion was condemned by many, with some viewing their selection on the basis of proximity as 'devaluing' the jersey.

Speaking on Tuesday night's Off The Ball, O'Driscoll said that Gatland had handled the situation poorly.

"Yeah - it absolutely is [a mess]," he said. "I think Warren Gatland’s made a mistake there personally because he’s not staying strong with his convictions.

"I think if you are going to have those guys out and he talks about protecting the 23, there’s a chance that he hasn’t gone and protected the 23.

"Someone like Iain Henderson could easily feature this weekend yet he hasn’t been protected because he’s had to go and play the full 80 minutes - granted he had 10 minutes in the sin bin.

"He’s gone and played a full game on the Tuesday and if he is in contention to be on the bench. And say he’s on the bench and there’s an injury in the first minute or two of the game of the Test match.

"He plays 78 minutes. That’s 70 minutes on a Tuesday and 78 minutes on a Saturday. That’s talking about 'protecting test players' I don’t see how that’s been good business at all."

He added: "From I heard - those players that have been involved feel no part of it whatsoever. He’s done a disservice to them too because they feel that they’re kind of 'unused cannon fodder'."

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