“That can’t happen again.”
Brian O’Driscoll has argued that all British and Irish Lions squad members should get game time in the final three weeks of the tour.
Several Lions players will have not played at all in the final three weekends of this year’s tour to South Africa, as there has been no mid-week games during the test series with the Springboks.
Nine Lions players in total have missed out on selection for the Lions’ last three match-day squads – Iain Henderson, Gareth Davies, Zander Fagerson, Jonny Hill, Marcus Smith, Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Navidi, Jamie George and Ronan Kelleher.
Brian O’Driscoll on this Lions tour’s schedule.
While players miss out on test caps for the Lions on every tour, every tour before this has featured at least one mid-week game during the test series, a change in schedule that O’Driscoll has argued should not be allowed to happen again.
“Can’t have been an easy 3 weeks for Gareth Davies, Fagerson, Henderson, Hill, Smith, LRZ, Navidi & Kelleher with no game time,” O’Driscoll tweeted.
“Yes some will originally have been happy to have been selected but no game time equals not feeling a proper part of it. That can’t happen again.”
Several squad members have not played in weeks.
Six of the players who have missed out on the three test match-day squads last played in the Lions’ warm-up match against the Stormers on the 17th July, while Henderson and Navidi have not played since the South Africa ‘A’ game on the 14th of July.
Kelleher, a late call-up to the squad, has not featured in any games for the Lions. The Irish hooker was brought to South Africa as cover, although none of the three originally selected hookers were actually injured.
Lions players who have missed out on test caps have spoken about the difficulty of dealing with the situation in the past, although this year’s tour has arguably been the toughest for those unlucky players for a number of reasons.
Can’t have been an easy 3 weeks for Gareth Davies, Fagerson, Henderson, Hill, Smith, LRZ, Navidi & Kelleher with no game time. Yes some will originally have been happy to have been selected but no game time = not feeling a proper part of it. That can’t happen again.
— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) August 3, 2021