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'Astounded' - The one Lions omission that fans can't get head around

By Ian Cameron

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He was probably the form player of the British & Irish Lions series to date, but somehow Josh Adams hasn’t done enough to make Warren Gatland’s Test 23.

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The winger has beaten 13 defenders, made 266 metres and maybe most tellingly of all, crossed the whitewash eight times on tour. For many he was one of a select number of shoe-ins for a Test spot alongside the likes of Maro Itoje and Tadhg Furlong, but it wasn’t to be for the Cardiff Blues speedster.

“In my four Tours as a Lions coach, this was by far the hardest Test selection I have been involved in,” said Gatland in the statement announcing the Test side.

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The Lions vs Springboks | Test 1 | Live at London Welsh RFC | Lions Fanzones | Promo
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The Lions vs Springboks | Test 1 | Live at London Welsh RFC | Lions Fanzones | Promo

Adams’ omission, which was flagged by The Times in a reported leak that correctly identified all but one selection in the 23, had caused a minor outrage of social media. Many felt his exclusion was evidence that the leak was inaccurate.

Now confirmation of his omission has only heightened frustration at the snub, which has mainly come from Welsh fans.

“Astounded at Josh Adams’ omission, even allowing for Mr Gatland’s obsession with giant wings,” wrote Peter Jackson. “Duhan van der Merwe may be 4 inches taller and a good deal heavier but Adams must be wondering: What more could I have done? Same goes for Chris Harris.”

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“Warren Gatland loves a curveball,” wrote Ross Harries. “Josh Adams appears to be the John Bentley of 2021, carving it up in the warm-ups, but overlooked for the test team. Selection though, has always been one of Gatland’s strong points. Rarely has he got the big calls wrong.

Former Wales’ and Ospreys standoff James Hook posted: ‘Is Josh Adams injured?’

Cardiff Rugby Life wrote: “As much as I know not to doubt a Warren Gatland selection for a Lions test by now, I still find myself somewhat bemused by a number of selections. Josh Adams has been superb so far, but perhaps after the emotional rollercoaster of the last week a weekend off will do him good.”

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Welsh pundit Phil Steele understood the selection as one that seeks to fight Springbok ‘fire with fire’. “A Lions selection designed to fight fire with fire. Feel for Josh Adams who couldn’t have done much more to push his case. Gatland has never shied away from making tough calls and is rarely proved wrong.”

“No injury to Josh Adams – it’s purely a selection decision,” wrote Welsh jouranlist Matthew Southcombe. “I’m shocked by that. Will be intrigued to hear Gatland’s reasoning.”

British and Irish Lions team to play South Africa: S Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland); A Watson (Bath Rugby, England), E Daly (Saracens, England), R Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland), D Van Der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland); D Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales), A Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland); W Jones (Scarlets, Wales), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), T Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland), M Itoje (Saracens, England), A W Jones (Ospreys, Wales, capt), C Lawes (Northampton Saints, England), T Curry (Sale Sharks, England), J Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets, Wales), R Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland), K Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England), T Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland), H Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland), C Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland), O Farrell (Saracens, England), L Williams (Scarlets, Wales).

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'Astounded' - The one Lions omission that fans can't get head around

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