Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip speak out over Warren Gatland's decision to drop them for the third British and Irish Lions Test

Lions went on to record their biggest ever victory over Australia but former Tour captain admits he remains 'resentful' towards Gatland

Current Ireland stars Jamie Heaslip and Brian O’Driscoll have spoken of their frustration at being dropped for the final British and Irish Lions Test against Australia, with the Irish captain claiming he was “p***** off” with coach Warren Gatland while O’Driscoll admitted he is still “resentful” towards the Wales boss.

Both players featured in the first two Tests – the 23-21 victory in Brisbane and the 16-15 defeat in Melbourne – but were replaced for the decisive third Test in Sydney by Toby Faletau and Jonathan Davies respectfully.

Davies has played alongside O’Driscoll in the opening two matches, but the return of fit again Jamie Roberts saw Davies shift to outside centre, meaning O’Driscoll was left out of the 23-man squad all together.

The decision to drop O’Driscoll caused outrage in the northern hemisphere, particularly in his home country, but Gatland’s decision appeared vindicated when the Lions recorded a record victory over Australia to win the Test series 2-1.

"Do I resent him (Gatland)? Yeah, there's resentment of course," O’Driscoll told Sky Sports earlier today. "Is he on the Christmas card list – unlikely.

"When you're left with disappointment that way, you can't but feel a little bit of resentment you know."

Heaslip also recalled the celebrations following the victory and how he felt taking part in them having missed out on the third Test side.

"I very much felt like a third wheel, to be honest," Heaslip told the Irish Independent. "I'll look back on it one day and say, 'You know what, I played in two out of three of those Tests,' but at the time I didn't want to be there.

"I remember walking around and I kept my distance from the lads celebrating. I wasn't really getting into any photos or anything like that.

"John Feehan (CEO of the Lions) came over to me and said, 'You gotta smile, you're part of this, it's not just a one-day thing.' I think John was feeling for me a bit and he did his best to pick my spirits up. But it was a very tough moment.

"When I came home everybody was like, 'Well done on the Lions tour – but isn't it terrible about Brian?' I was like, 'Yeah, I feel for the guy.'

"Brian is on a different level to everybody else in terms of public affection in Ireland. He's like royalty, so I wasn't surprised at the reaction.

Jamie Heaslip (L) looks on after being substituted in the second Test defeat to Australia alongside Tom Youngs Jamie Heaslip (L) looks on after being substituted in the second Test defeat to Australia alongside Tom Youngs  

 

"We trained after the squad was announced on the Wednesday morning and that was my last session. I didn't have to go to any meetings. I pulled myself back.

"The guys not in the 23 withdrew to a degree to allow the lads to focus on what they had to do. We obviously supported the guys but we kept our distance because we needed a little head space too."

O’Driscoll and Roberts formed a formidable partnership on the 2009 Tour to South Africa, but initial plans to continue the partnership were thrown into jeopardy when Roberts picked up a hamstring injury in the warm-up victory over the New South Wales Waratahs.

Seizing his chance, Davies was very much the in-form player of Gatland’s side, but the way the New Zealander wanted his team to play depended on having a hard running 12 like Roberts in the side. Once he returned to fitness, Gatland had to pick either Davies or O’Driscoll, and having lost the second Test by the slimmest of margins, he decided to go with what he knew in naming 10 Welsh players in his starting line-up.

"People will say the decision was justified because of the results and the performance I guess,” O’Driscoll continued. “The way the team played I felt within the 13 jersey that I might have been able to do a decent job within that part of the team the way they played in that game.

"That's absolutely not taking anything away from Jonathan's performance, I thought he was pretty good that day, made some big plays at important times.

"But I guess it comes back to you backing yourself, feeling you too could have done some things that maybe others didn't do on the day."

Davies admitted to feeling like “public enemy No 1” in the wake of the criticism he and Gatland received after the team selection was announced, but he also said how O’Driscoll, who captained the 2005 Tour to New Zealand, was the first to congratulate him.

"Obviously he was gutted not to be involved but the way he trained over the next couple of days was testament to the guy,” said Davies.

"Before the test he didn't say much, he just let me get on with it. We had a couple of beers together after the test, we got on fine."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss