Warren Gatland's 'calamitous error' according to ex-Lions tour manager
The Lions fell to a heavy 27 – 9 defeat to the Springboks in Cape Town in the second Test and it’s now very much advantage South Africa heading into the third.
After dominating the aerial battle a week earlier, the Lions seeming inability to field high balls cost the side dear in the second half of the second Test, with Gatland’s back three selection coming in for heavy criticism over the weekend.
Lenihan, writing in the Irish Examiner, wants a major overhaul of the back line. The 61-year-old, who toured as a Lion in 1983 and 1989, says that the back three selection of Stuart Hogg, Duhan Van Der Merwe and Anthony Watson were ‘badly’ exposed by the Springboks kicking tactics and that leaving Williams out entirely was a huge error.
“Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe were badly exposed with the usually reliable Anthony Watson also suffering the jitters.”
Williams, dubbed the Bomb Defuser for his aerial prowess, was a surprise omission from the 23, having been a pre-tour favourite to take the Lions’ 15 jersey.
“If Gatland got away with the decision to omit Liam Williams from the starting side in the first test, he paid a big price for it this time round. The fact that he wasn’t even on the bench to shore things up was a calamitous error.
“In addition to Williams, a proven finisher of the quality of Josh Adams has to come back into the equation.
Lenihan also wants Finn Russell to be involved, injuries notwithstanding.
“If Finn Russell is fit, his capacity to add a bit of creativity off the bench must also come under consideration. Otherwise, what was the point in selecting him in the first place?”
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