Lions kicking coach Neil Jenkins has explained the reasoning behind Johnny Sexton's omission from the 2021 Tour squad.
The 37-man squad was announced today with the notable absence of Ireland captain Sexton.
“Yeah, obviously it’s very tough on Johnny," Jenkins said.
"I agree that he is a fantastic player. His goal-kicking in this Six Nations has been very, very good. The best I’ve seen him kick - off the floor, especially.
"I know he’s very good anyway but he’s been exceptional in this Six Nations.
“It’s very, very tough. We’ve got Dan Biggar in Wales, Finn Russell, Owen Farrell and, obviously, Johnny.
"Someone was going to miss out and Finn missed out four years ago and this time, sadly, it’s Johnny.
“I don’t think it’s an easy way to go around it, really.
"He’s a fantastic player and it’s very difficult to pick [from] the four of them and just, sadly at this moment in time, Johnny has missed out.”
Jenkins seemed to intimate that the concussion aspect to Sexton's situation played at least some part.
“Obviously, there's a little bit of concern about the concussions and stuff like that, there is no doubting that," Jenkins said.
"But that’s obviously for the medical staff and the medical side of things and a little bit of durability.
“But look, he’s a fantastic player, I’m not questioning that whatsoever but it’s very difficult where we’re going with the physicality and presence we’re going to bring, and the other boys are very, very good themselves.
“So it was very difficult, whoever was going to miss out was going to be extremely disappointed and rightly so and just as I said, sadly at this point in time it’s Johnny."
Jenkins said he was sorry that Sexton wouldn't be coming as a tourist.
"He’s a fantastic player and he’s been exceptional on the last two Lions tours that I’ve been on, he’s been very good with myself.
“I just see myself as a facilitator for these boys.
"They’re the best of the best when they turn up and we try to keep them doing the same stuff that they do whether it be with Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales.
“He had a good Six Nations but the other guys did as well.
"Owen is a fantastic player and been there and done it himself. It’s not an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.”
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