Gatland indicates there could be changes for second Test.
Last Saturday was an extremely proud day for many Munster and Ireland rugby fans all across the world as they watched Peter O’Mahony become the 11th Irish Test Lions captain.
O’Mahony was proficient in the line out and got thorough thirteen tackles. Despite this it is reported that Warren Gatland could be about to drop the Corkman in favour of Sam Warburton.
Yesterday in a press conference he spoke about potential changes for the second test, and mentioned the Welshman’s name.
‘We might have to shake [selection] up a little bit’.
‘I think someone like Maro Itoje made an impact coming off the bench and was very physical. Sam Warburton was excellent as well at the breakdown when he came on. The disappointing thing is we were dominated in the collisions in attack and defence’.
‘They were pretty aggressive at the breakdown, came hard and won the collisions. It’s disappointing and that’s a pride factor, you know? If I was playing on Saturday night and I felt that I was physically dominated, I’d be a little bit disappointed in myself and I’d be doing everything I could physically do the following week to make sure I fixed that area of the game’.
Tour captain Warburton has yet to hit his best form on tour and has been blighted by a series of injuries. Putting him into the firing line against one of the most physical sides in the world seems like a dangerous gamble at best.
With the midweek side set to take on the Hurricanes tomorrow, it a final chance for the second string to stake a claim for a Test spot not only for Saturday but also for the final game of the series.
There would be little surprise if Gatland was to drop O’Mahony, although it would be grossly unfair. The Corkman – while not as effective at the breakdown as he would have liked – was certainly not the only player to look below par against the All Blacks.
The New Zealander has a ruthless streak and is not afraid to make unpopular calls if he sees it as being for the benefit of the the team.
Brian O’Driscoll was the highest profile casualty of the 2013 tour when he was dropped for the last test. The Second Test team announcement on Wednesday evening.