Much was made of the anticipated squad announcement, in what has been described as the “toughest selection” group the respective committee had to make. Warren Gatland and co. got the decisions more or less right, baring the exclusion of Wasps’ skipper, Joe Launchbury.
Aside from Launchers, there wasn’t even that many raised eyebrows surrounding the admission of England hooker, Dylan Hartley.
So, it would seem Gatland had both media and players onside.
Two weeks later, the Kiwi has now unsettled certain players – and very important ones at that – by not cancelling a Monday meeting; a meeting of ‘admin’.
The boss has kept a date in the diary for the players to come and collect their Lions kit, meaning that Saracens had to cancel their Monday training session, a session planned for their European Champions Cup Final clash with Clermont this Saturday.
Sarries rested key players in their 35-15 defeat to Wasps in the final Premiership weekend, and boss Mark McCall, was infuriated that Gatland hadn’t changed/cancelled the admin day:
“It’s unbelievable… [it should have been] taken out of the calendar”
The decision to keep the session meant that six Saracens players were expected to come and collect their Lions kit; enough of a core group to cause disruption amongst the squad with some irritated touring members.
Following Greig Laidlaw’s call-up after the terrible news surrounding Ben Youngs’ withdrawal, both Laidlaw and Ross Moriarty of Gloucester had to also leave their club preparation with Gloucester ahead of their European Challenge Cup Final on Friday.
With not long left of the domestic season, it would seem that Gatland should have left the still involved clubs to their own devices, rather than caused disruption and general media backlash.
Hopefully, it should not effect the moral of the camp with too much frustration, but cohesion amongst all players should not even be tested ahead of the summer tests in New Zealand.
With the Premiership season finishing and the play-offs to be decided; who makes the team of the season: