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Lenihan: O'Driscoll's absence will hurt squad

Updated: Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 17:36 | Comments

Brian O'Driscoll's Lions career is over
Brian O'Driscoll's Lions career is over

Donal Lenihan feels Brian O'Driscoll's omission from the British and Irish Lions team to play Australia in the final Test of the series will put a cloud over the squad.

The RTÉ analyst told RTÉ Sport this morning that he feels O’Driscoll has been sacrificed for a more physical approach for the Lions but it may damage them psychologically

Lenihan said: "It came as a huge shock. I was at the team announcement this morning and there were changes expected. With Sam Warburton out of the side and Paul O’Connell also injured, everybody expected Brian O’Driscoll to lead the side.

"I think Warren Gatland has gone for sheer power and physicality and he has sacrificed the subtly and skills Brian O’Driscoll brings to the mix.

"I am very surprised that he is out of the side and I have to say knowing Brian for as long as I do and being out here 14 years ago with Ireland when he was first picked for his first international cap and in 2001 for the Lions, I feel extremely sorry for him.

"There is no sentiment in sport but I do feel he is still worthy of his place in the side.

"I find it a bit strange. Only a week ago, a number of players name checked Brian coming up to the second Test which everybody hoped would be the deciding Test of the series. Everybody wanted to do it for him because it was his last tour.

"Things didn’t go his way in the second Test but I thought a lot of that was out of his control.

"The manner in which the Lions played, a negative game and kicking away a lot of possession, meant he wasn’t given a lot of opportunities to do what he does best.

"This shock selection will in some ways raise a cloud over the squad."

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