Sports Letters: Selection quandary

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The Independent Online
Sir: In utter disappointment I read the line-up for the Lions tour of New Zealand. It is lamentable that the decision to exclude so many Irish players from the party was taken without due regard to recent performances and the undoubted impact it will have across the water. At the heart of the Lions' being lies a cohesion that joins four forces which all too often in reality seek to drive further apart. If this is too whimsical, old-fashioned or romantic a notion for maintaining balance in the selection then let the facts speak for themselves. In Dublin 15 men wearing green outran, out-tackled, and outwitted 15 men wearing white. They were younger, fitter and showed a fresh enthusiasm for the game. What Geoff Cooke et al have achieved is to pick a side whose core may be experience but which is also old and tired. If we are to have any chance of winning the Tests in New Zealand the pride, passion and commitment witnessed at Lansdowne Road could have been a decisive ingredient in this cocktail of rugby talent from the British Isles. I fear we will regret abandoning the talent and, dare I say it, the luck of the Irish.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL SCALLON

Stratford upon Avon

20 March

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