Gatland ready for Lions fallout in Dublin
January 23, 2014
Warren Gatland is wary of the "Lions effect"
Warren Gatland accepts the fallout from his decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll from the final British & Lions Test against Australia in July will put an "extra twist" on Wales' trip to Ireland in the second round of Six Nations matches.
Gatland omitted O'Driscoll from his team for the final Lions Test in Sydney, sparking uproar in Ireland and disillusionment from O'Driscoll that was only barely quelled when the tourists won resoundingly 41-16 to seal the series.
O'Driscoll later joked Gatland would not be on his Christmas card list, before he handed the Lions coach a card at a Downing Street reception in September. Gatland said he eventually sent a card back to O'Driscoll - after prompting from Ireland players - asking the midfielder to tell the Aviva Stadium crowd to go easy on him when Wales pitch up in Dublin on February 8.
"Donnacha Ryan rang me up and asked me to send Brian a Christmas card, which was a bit of a joke from the Irish boys," Gatland said.
"So I sent him a Christmas card, and I wished him and his family well. I did ask if he had any influence to try to make sure that the Irish fans didn't boo me too much at the Aviva Stadium. I meant it as a joke; it's water under the bridge now and hopefully everyone can move on."
Gatland, the former All Blacks hooker who gave O'Driscoll his international debut during his three-year tenure as Ireland boss between 1998 and 2001, said he was looking forward to going back to Dublin.
"It's going to put an extra twist on the game," he said of the O'Driscoll decision. "People are going to try to make something out of it as they always do."