British & Irish Lions
Best's dismay at Lions heartbreak
ESPN Staff
May 3, 2013
Ireland's Rory Best goes over for their try, Ireland v Wales, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, February 5, 2012
Rory Best was omitted from the Lions squad © Getty Images

Ireland hooker Rory Best has admitted it will take him a "long time" to get over his omission from the British & Irish Lions squad for the summer's tour to Australia.

Prior to the Six Nations, Best was seen as one of the prime candidates for a spot in the squad but Lions coach Warren Gatland opted against selecting the 67-cap hooker. Instead, Gatland and his coaching team opted for Dylan Hartley, Tom Youngs and Richard Hibbard.

Best's omission, along with Chris Robshaw's, was one of the surprise outcomes from the 37-man squad and he has conceded it will take him a while to come to terms with the decision. "It will take a long time to get completely over it," Best told the Irish Independent. "It's very disappointing, but unfortunately that's sport; you don't always get your own way."

And Best said he was in the same boat as the other players who were harbouring hopes of a Lions call-up and had no indication of whether he would be in the squad or not. "There was no advance call," Best said. "Everyone watched in at 11 o'clock and we happened to be training. I suppose I just got wind of it by the fact that everyone was avoiding me and no-one was making eye-contact with me.

"As the session went on and we got further past 11 it became more and more obvious that it wasn't happening. Eventually Dan Tuohy just came up, shook my hand and said, 'Commiserations'. That was just it. People don't avoid you when it's good news. It was bitterly disappointing, it really was.

"I left training and went home, spent the afternoon with my family and just tried to not think about it. But at the end of the day it's the pinnacle of anyone's rugby career and you hope and pray you're close. You know you're close and you hope you're going to be on that plane and when you're told you're not it's obviously disappointing.

"This sport that I love so much has given me a lot of highs and unfortunately with highs come lows and you just have to take them and try to roll with it as best you can."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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