British and Irish Lions 2013: #justiceforBOD trends on Twitter in Ireland after Brian O'Driscoll is dropped for crucial Test against Australia

Coach Warren Gatland opts for a side heavily reliant on Welsh players

Irish rugby fans, former players and politicians reacted with anger and bewilderment today when they woke to the news that Brian O'Driscoll had been dropped for the British and Irish Lions' crucial third test against Australia.

The talismanic centre, regarded as Ireland's greatest ever player, was tipped to captain Warren Gatland's side for Saturday's series decider but was instead axed for the first time in a glittering 15-year career.

Gatland, who is also the head coach of Six Nations champions Wales, replaced O'Driscoll with Jamie Roberts, one of 10 Welshmen in the starting 15.

The decision dominated morning news shows, stoked ire on Twitter and led one former Lions great, ex-Ireland captain Keith Wood, to accuse Gatland of damaging the traditions of the touring side.

"I think he has sidestepped what the Lions is all about, which is the blending of four countries. I think it does the Lions a disservice," Wood said of Gatland, who also picked three Irishmen and two from England to start on Saturday. Scotland's sole representative is lock Richie Gray, who is on the bench.

"I'm upset for the Lions and I'm really upset for Brian ... I think Brian gets the Lions more than Warren Gatland does if I'm brutally honest," Wood, who was part of the last Lions team to win a test series in 1997, told Irish radio station Newstalk.

O'Driscoll, Ireland's record try scorer who led his country to a first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2009 and is on his fourth Lions tour, reacted gracefully to the decision.

"Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through," he wrote on Twitter.

Irish rugby fans were less understanding.

The hashtag #justiceforBOD, a reference to the 34-year-old's initials and nickname, was the most popular term on Twitter in Ireland.

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinnes summed up the feelings of many when he took to the social network to describe Gatland's call as "mind boggling".

Others described the feeling as similar to that when Ireland soccer captain Roy Keane walked out on the team ahead of the 2002 World Cup, a story that dominated national news for days.

But with three Irish players - Jonathan Sexton, Tommy Bowe and Sean O'Brien - managing to make the cut in a team dominated by Welshman, some managed to see the light side.

"Big congrats to Sean O'Brien, Tommy Bowe and Jonathan Sexton on their debut for Wales this weekend," comedy writer Colm Tobin said on Twitter.

Reuters

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there