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
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution