Gatland: BOD decision biggest of my career
July 10, 2013
Warren Gatland has spoken of his 'biggest call' © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland believes that the decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll for the third Test against Australia was the biggest call of his career.
Gatland received widespread criticism for his decision to leave O'Driscoll out of his matchday squad for the series-deciding test in Sydney, admitting that the "vitriolic" abuse he was subjected to in the immediate aftermath of that announcement ultimately made it difficult for him to enjoy the eventual, and emphatic, 41-16 victory - a triumph that should have vindicated his choice.
Giving some insight into his thought process, the New Zealander said he would have regretted not having the confidence to drop O'Driscoll, had the Irishman played and the Lions gone on to lose the series decider.
However, the Wales coach admitted that, the way the Lions ultimately ended up playing in the third Test, they probably would still have won comfortably with O'Driscoll at centre.
"I felt it was (the biggest call of my career)," Gatland told ONE News. "We were making what was the best decision in winning the Test series, and I wasn't going to leave Australia having any regrets.
"If we'd picked Brian, the way we played we probably still would have won the game, but if we lost there was only one person who would be criticised - that finger would be solely pointed at me."
Gatland also faced criticism for his general selection policy, with 10 Welshmen making the final XV for Sydney - including two, Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies, whose presence necessitated O'Driscoll's ousting.
Amid accusations of favouritism towards those he has coached for a number of years at international level, the coach was delighted to see so many of them step up and deliver for him.
He said: "I know the Welsh boys didn't say anything ... but they knew the pressure I was under ... and I know they fronted."
The coach says he tried to foster a spirit within the squad that saw beyond individual nationalities - believing being more together than the Australian setup was key to getting the series triumph.
"We felt there was no unity in Australian rugby between Super Rugby franchises," Gatland noted. "Between the Australian Rugby Union, between media, and between the public, everything there seemed so divided."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Communication error please reload the page.
Defending champion Roger Federer booked his spot in the Dubai Championships final for a ninth time with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Borna Coric
Jose Mourinho has accused Tottenham players of diving to get opponents booked and called on them to cut out the antics for the League Cup final
Tom May picks three players to put into your fantasy team, and three to leave out
Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City have been handed an advantage against Liverpool by the Merseysiders' draining workload in the Europa League
Marussia has been included on the revised 2015 entry list under the name Manor Marussia F1 Team, subject to compliance with this year's regulations
Kempton Park and which other course have a race named after Desert Orchid?
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
An honest England side have been searching for the heir to Jason Robinson for nearly a decade. Step forward Jonathan Joseph, writes Simon Barnes
Piers Morgan has declared himself "hurt" over former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson's claims that he is not an authentic fan of the club
The ARU must be applauded for its decision to introduce a pitch-side video review to assist match-day doctors with concussion assessments, Greg Growden writes
Nani has revealed Louis van Gaal has not spoken to him during his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon
Martin Murray has revealed he was taken aback by his fight with middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin, but only because the Kazakh did not punch as hard as he thought he would
Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the Premier League's television scheduling, saying it gives Manchester City an advantage over his Liverpool side heading into their crucial clash on Sunday
Chelsea have told fans attending the League Cup final against Tottenham on Sunday that they will take the strongest action against any fans involved anti-Semitic chanting against Spurs supporters
The winner of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao's mega-fight will be rewarded with a new, specially commissioned WBC belt, it has been announced
Charlton are investigating footage that appears to show a couple having sex on the club's pitch
Chris Eubank Jr tells Inside Boxing of his hopes of a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders - and a dream showdown with the formidable Gennady Golovkin
Tottenham's League Cup final preparations are in full swing with the club set to duke it out with Chelsea at Wembley this coming Sunday
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
How often has a team that lost its opening Championship match gone on to take the title outright?