“Don’t Mourn The Missing Men” David Trick Talks Lions
MUCH has already been said and written about the notable absentees from the 41-man British and Irish Lions squad selected to tour New Zealand this summer.
Coach Warren Gatland overlooked England captain Dylan Hartley – despite the hooker having led his nation to back-to-back Six Nations titles – and George Ford (England), Donnacha Ryan (Ireland) and Richie Grey (Scotland) were among the other big names left without a place in the squad.
Honorary President Wooden Spoon Devon, David Trick, concedes that he too was surprised by some of the omissions, but insists that the calibre of the casualties should be cause for celebration not concern.
“The standard of northern hemisphere rugby, and the home nations in particular, has risen dramatically since the World Cup and you could have almost drawn each position from a hat and still been left with an incredibly strong Lions side. Indeed, if ten of the names selected were replaced tomorrow with ten different names it would still be a talented squad.”
“However, I am also prepared to admit that Warren Gatland and his team know far more about the game than I do. They will have seen what I’ve seen and still chosen the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis and Mario Itoje. I look at that as a huge positive – guys who I think are genuinely outstanding players haven’t made it. I’m happy in the knowledge that people better placed than I am think there are better alternatives.”
“A lot of the talk since the announcement is ‘why isn’t he in or why’s that player not going?’, but what’s done is done and now is the time to get right behind the 41 men who did make the list and the entire backroom team.”
“But I just have this sneaking suspicion that the Lions might just pull off something special and create some real sporting history.”