The media hype about this coming weekend’s game in Dublin is increasingly focused on the fall out between Warren Gatland and Brian O’Driscoll on last summer’s Lions’ Tour.
Rugby coverage in the press and on websites usually concentrates on the match, predicting selections and the result – it rarely falls into this type of football shit-stirring (except when the tabloids jump into jingoistic fervour when a Grand Slam is in the offing).
As Lions’ coach Gatland picked Jonathan Davies ahead of Brian O’Driscoll for rugby reasons not because he was also the Welsh coach. He was proved right too.
Jonathan Davies was not just the outstanding centre but one of the best players on tour. He edged BOD for that start in the final test – Lions’ rugby is about winning not sentiment.
BOD is one of (if not) the greatest centres to ever grace the game. In my all time World XV he’d be alongside Gareth Edwards, Michael Jones, Martin Johnson and John Eales but Davies was the right call for the final test.
The Lions’ tour is history – as always with the Lions’ it ends with the final whistle – the idea that there is a ‘grudge’ is media fuelled and totally out of context with reality. It is shameful that some quarters are trying to make a story where there is none by promoting it as a confrontation between Gatland and BOD. The fact that Jonathan Davies is now fit and may be in the 23 will only add to the lazy reporters’ opportunities to sensationalise the game.
The Irish crowds are renowned for their respect to players and when kicks are being taken – I expect them to retain that dignity on Saturday when Wales arrive and to condemn the media attempts to inflame passions to the dustbin they deserve. It is the respect that Brian O’Driscoll deserves. And being English I’ll be cheering for him and the men in green!
The whole episode reminds me of the time (as in one of, not the only) I was dropped from Askeans 1st XV – this was greeted in the stands by similar gasps of amazement –
“About time”, “I never realised he was in the side anyway” and “Who is he?” were just a few of the supportive comments I received.
The local media also managed to ignore my absence from the team sheet – much like the supporters and indeed the rest of the team.
Anyway – come on UK media lets concentrate on the important issues for next weekend like –
“What colour boots will Paul O’Connell be wearing?”, “Will Joe Marler be sporting a Mohican?” and “Which porn sites will the TMO be surfing on his monitor?”