British & Irish Lions: Gatland standing by O’Driscoll decision

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British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists his decision to omit Brian O’Driscoll from squad for third and decisive Test against Australia was made with his head rather than his heart.

Gatland announced his squad on Wednesday ahead of the match in Sydney, sparking controversy after O’Driscoll, who was expected to be named captain, was dropped in favour of the centre pairing of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies.

The 49-year-old has named 10 Welsh starters in the squad ahead of the tie, equalling the country’s highest representation in a Lions side since 1950.

The man from New Zealand insists he has made the correct call and believes the squad will vindicate the decision when they clinch their first series win since the tour of South Africa in 1997.

The announcement has seen O’Driscoll’s career as a Lion effectively ended as he will be 38 for the next tour when the squad travels to New Zealand in 2017.

Gatland said: “It’s only hard because you are making the decision by using your head and not your heart.

“Then you realise that what comes of making a decision like that is all the peripheral stuff – not the rugby decision – because it becomes a major story for 48 hours and it becomes a debate.

“That is the process I’ve gone through myself. If I go back to the UK after this and say ‘did I make the decision because I believe it’s the right decision?’ or ‘did I make the decision because it was the right political decision or sentiment?’”

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