Ireland Captain Brian O’Driscoll has been dropped from the side to face the Wallabies in the 3rd and final test of the British & Irish Lions series in Australia.
O’Driscoll had been tipped to captain the side, so it is a huge shock for the Irishman to not be chosen to lead the side let alone not actually feature at all in the match day 23.
O’Driscoll took to twitter to express his disappointment at being left out saying “Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through.”
Alun Wyun Jones will instead captain the side because tour captain Sam Warburton is out with a hamstring injury.
The side picked by head coach Warren Gatland contains 10 Welshmen, equalling the highest number of representatives from one nation since a Lions side faced Australia in 1950.
Gatland is the head coach of Wales and it appears that he has chosen to rely on the players he knows best in the crucial series deciding game in Sydney.
The side features six changes from the team that lost to Australia on Saturday in Melbourne.
Centre Jamie Roberts returns in place of O’Driscoll, but takes the inside centre shirt with Wales centre partner Jonathan Davies retaining his place and moving to O’Driscolls 13 jersey.
Prop Alex Corbisiero, hooker Richard Hibbard, back rows Sean O’Brien and Toby Faletau and scrum half Mike Phillips are all selected to start.
In dropping Brian O’Driscoll, Gatland becomes the first coach in 15 years that has left out the Ireland stalwart, Gatland said “It’s not easy for that to be the first time but he is still going to be very important for us in the next 72 hours in terms of his experience and leadership.”
“Brian was disappointed but he appreciated that he was spoken to before the team announcement. Jamie is back fit and has been given the nod because of his partnership with Davies.”
Upon being appointed captain for the decider, Alun Wyn Jones said “Hopefully I’ve been selected for the way I play and not necessarily the way I lead. I played from the start of the tour with an eye on getting into the first Test.”
“To be selected in the position I am for the final Test is a pretty special moment for me personally, but obviously there’s still a job to do.”
The British & Irish Lions team to face Australia:
15: Leigh Halfpenny
14: Tommy Bowe
13: Jonathan Davies
12: Jamie Roberts
11: George North
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Mike Phillips
8: Toby Faletau
7: Sean O’Brien
6: Dan Lydiate
5: Geoff Parling
4: Alun Wyn Jones
3: Adam Jones
2: Richard Hibbard
1: Alex Corbisiero