What do Brian O'Driscoll and Keith Wood make of the Lions squad?

Former Ireland captains give their takes on Warren Gatland's selections

Brian O'Driscoll, rugby, Lions, 2001, Keith Wood,

Brian O'Driscoll and Keith Wood on the 2001 Lions tour ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Brian O'Driscoll feels versatility will be a more crucial factor for the British and Irish Lions tour in comparison to international level.

The 2005 Lions captain and Keith Wood joined Off The Ball to share their thoughts on Warren Gatland's 2017 tour selections.

Eleven Ireland internationals were called up to the 41 man squad: Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Rory Best and Sean O'Brien, Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander. 

On the issue of versatility and being able to slot in to numerous positions, O'Driscoll feels that will have played a greater role in pre-squad selection. 

"You see there's a huge amount of versatility, particularly across that back line but also in the pack," he said.

"I think that gets you on Lions tours. It can work against you internationally because you can't nail down one position and you become overly versatile whereas on Lions tours you can play three positions. I think that's a real bonus."

Given how injury had affected a very versatile option in Jared Payne of late, Wood admitted his slight surprise at the Ulster player's inclusion - a sentiment shared by the player himself - but feels his qualities will be very useful in New Zealand.

"Every single player who has played with him just sings his praises," said Wood of Payne, while he was also pleased to see Munster back row Peter O'Mahony included.

"People were doubting that Peter O'Mahony would go but there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever. The man is a nuisance [for opposition teams] and you want him in your team wherever you can and he causes havoc both with his athleticism but also his physicality and his annoyance factor is incredible." 

You can listen to the full Lions squad review on the podcast player.