For all the joy and jubilation which comes with being selected for the Lions, on the opposite side of the coin, missing out brings despair and bitter disappointment – just ask James Haskell.
For the 41 players who were named in Warren Gatland’s squad last month, they can look forward to what will be an unforgettable experience, one which will likely be one of the most memorable moments of their careers.
However, for many players, this was their last chance to get a shot of wearing the famous red jersey and you only had to read the quotes from Haskell this week to get an idea on what it feels like to miss out on such a big opportunity.
The Wasps player has never represented the Lions and after turning 32 last month, this year was his last shot at it.
Brutally honest https://t.co/gWYtruMbIS
— Pundit Arena Rugby (@PunditRugby) May 3, 2017
Though there is some hope for Haskell and for all the others who missed out. As we have seen in previous tours, injuries are always going to take place so there is scope for players who were not originally included to be involved at some stage.
This is a message which Gatland has given to Haskell and other players who didn’t make the cut.
“If you’re a player that’s missed out and you know you were pretty close, you know, if someone picks up and injury next month or early on in the tour…,” Gatland told Sky Sports.
“You might be disappointed now but you never know, something could happen or change over next two, three, six or eight weeks. So you got to be prepared for that and ready for a potential call up to come in if called upon.”
The Lions will play six fixtures before the first Test against the All Blacks – four of which are against Super Rugby sides – so you would imagine that due to the expected physical and attritional nature of these matches, further call-ups are inevitable.