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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 15 April 2021

Here's how the experts reacted to today's Lions announcement

This morning’s squad selection provoked plenty of debate among the great and the good.

Jamie Pandaram in The Daily Telegraph

“Front-rower Stevens has written himself an admirable tale of success, turmoil, shame and redemption. At 30, he is on his second Lions tour, having come through England’s ranks despite playing for the Junior Springboks.The Durban-born tighthead had the thrill of travelling with the Lions party but didn’t play any Tests in 2005 against the All Blacks.

“He tested positive to cocaine after a match in 2008 and was suspended for two years.

“He resumed his career in 2011, having watched the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa from his lounge room then working his way back into representative honours via Saracens.”

Whiff of Cordite on the squad announcement

“Ultimately it was a slightly underwhelming announcement with few of the fireworks some expected Gatland to provide.  The late bolts from flair players went largely unrewarded, and Simon Zebo, Christian Wade, Ian Madigan and James Hook will all have to look to national summer tours for rugby, injury call-ups notwithstanding.

“We got much right in our predictions, and some things wrong.  Kearney snuck in the door as one of three specialist full-backs.  At centre they’ve chosen a strangely unbalanced crew, all 13s and only one 12.  Is Brian O’Driscoll being considered for the role of inside centre, or at least providing cover there?  How this pans out will be interesting.  As such, it’s even more surprising that no utility back has been selected.”

Lewis Moody on the announcement

YouTube credit: Lewis Moody

Stuart Barnes on the announcement:

“There has not be a question mark but I think the way he performed in 2011 in New Zealand in the World Cup suggests that he can answer those questions. Sam Warburton is a fine player at his best. As with Lydiate, Gatland goes back and trusts players. The captaincy choice of Warburton is based on the fact that Gatland thought the last really big tournament was the World Cup and Warburton did a great job then.”

Walesonline on Best missing out:

“Regarded for much of the season as a certainty to tour Australia this summer. The Ulsterman was for the most part seen as the favourite to wear the Test shirt, but with the Irish line-out misfiring he lost confidence and it has cost him.”

The Leicester Tigers’ reaction to being picked:

YouTube credit: LandRoverUK

Schmidt has a blank piece of paper for his coaching ticket say IRFU>

Tommy Bowe goes all ‘Uncle Rico’ in meat-throwing Lions party>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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