British and Irish Lions: Will Carling says decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll has 'no logic'

Last Updated: 04/07/13 9:39am

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Brian O'Driscoll: Omitted from Warren Gatland's match-day squad for third Test

Brian O'Driscoll: Omitted from Warren Gatland's match-day squad for third Test

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Will Carling says he was in disbelief after learning of British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland's decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll for the deciding Test with Australia.

Gatland caused a massive stir after controversially opting to omit the experienced Ireland centre as one of six changes to last weekend's 16-15 defeat to the Wallabies.

O'Driscoll was expected to take over the captaincy from the injured Sam Warburton, but was instead axed from the match-day 23 for the winner-takes-all clash in Sydney.

Former England captain Carling, who toured with the Lions in 1993, says the decision has "no logic" and believes O'Driscoll should have been involved and also named as skipper.

"My jaw almost hit the floor when I heard the news," Carling told The Sun.

"Gatland will be hung out to dry if he gets this one wrong and I firmly believe he has made the wrong call. There is just no logic to his decision. I would never pick a team on sentiment but O'Driscoll would still be in my team on merit.


"Okay, he hasn't set the world alight in this Test series but in make-or-break games like this you need players of proven world class.

"O'Driscoll ticks all the boxes. And because of that I'd have given him the captaincy."

Carling is not the only former Lion to have criticised the decision to axe O'Driscoll, but Gatland has received a measure of support from England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.

"A head coach cannot afford to be sentimental. Dropping Brian O'Driscoll is the right decision based on his form and the way the Lions need to play to win this series," Woodward said in his Daily Mail column.

He added: "I agree with dropping O'Driscoll from the team, but he should not have been left out of the match-day squad."

"I would much rather have the 125 caps and game-changing intelligence of O'Driscoll to call upon in the final 20 minutes of a must-win Test than the inexperience of Manu Tuilagi.

"I admire Warren Gatland for making this call. When you are under pressure as a coach you go back to what you know, and for Gatland that means the Welsh power game."

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