British and Irish Lions 2013: Will Carling says decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll has 'no logic'

The Irish centre will play no part in the final Test

Former England captain Will Carling believes British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has made a huge error in dropping Brian O'Driscoll for the Test decider against Australia, claiming the decision has “no logic.”

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 had been tipped as a possible captaincy replacement for the injured Sam Warburton, but not only did the 34-year-old lose his starting spot to Jamie Roberts, he also failed to even make the matchday 23 for the winner-takes-all third Test in Sydney.

Carling, who toured with the Lions in 1993, admitted he was stunned by the decision and believes O'Driscoll should have been involved and also named as skipper.

He told The Sun: "My jaw almost hit the floor when I heard the news.

"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.

Woodward, who represented the Lions as a player in 1980 and 1983 and as coach in 2005, believes Gatland was right to leave O'Driscoll out of his starting line-up, although he believes the Irishman should have been on the bench.

"A head coach cannot afford to be sentimental," said Woodward, who appointed O'Driscoll as his Lions captain in 2005.

"Dropping Brian O'Driscoll is the right decision based on his form and the way the Lions need to play to win this series.

He added in his column in the Daily Mail: "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.

"But I hope his choices on the bench do not come back to haunt him as there is a lack of real impact players.

"With the exception of leaving out Alex Cuthbert - the only decision I would seriously question - the head coach has named the most intimidating line-up at his disposal. Not the most skilful - and not necessarily the best - but certainly the most powerful."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices