Rampant Pride - The Lions in Australia 2013 - book review by Chris Thau
12:03pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
THERE has been no doubt that in the mind of the author, the Daily Telegraph rugby correspondent Mick Cleary, the unsung hero of the successful Lions series of 2013 was head coach Warren Gatland, whose selectorial decisions for the third Test came under fire from the Irish component of the four Union selection.
In his foreword Lion emeritus Sir Ian McGeechan, who played on two Lions tours and coached on other five, observed that the Lions who went into the third Test as outsiders proved the impossible is, occasionally possible. In the space of seven days between the second and third Tests, Warren Gatland made seven changes to the Test team, one positional, and three on the bench. The selection of the replacement bench was hugely significant, with Gatland's decision to send all eight players on the field in the second half, described by McGeechan as a masterstroke.
The build-up to the third test is described in detail, providing an insight into the decision to select Jonathan Davies at the expense of Brian O'Driscoll, which was labelled by Cleary as the single most momentous selection decision in recent Lions history and possible ever.
Gatland knew that there would be a reaction to his selection. He didn't anticipate quite how ferocious it would be, observed Cleary, as a host of former Irish glories, media pundits and even politicians shooting from the hip, not to mention those who used the anonymity of social media to abuse the New Zealander. The other factor, in Cleary's view was the selection of 10 Welsh players in the starting line-up, the largest contribution since 1950. And Cleary, not known for his sympathy for things Welsh, was adamant that these were Lions, not Welsh, or English, or Irish.
The book richly illustrated by Getty Images photography was edited by Ian Robertson and published by Lennard Publishing in Harpenden (e-mail email@example.com)