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How Twitter reacted to Gatland’s Lions squad

by Aidan Elder | April 30, 2013
BATTLE LIONS ARE DRAWN: Lions head coach, Warren Gatland poses with captain, Sam Warbuton and they're joined by Sebastian Chabal for some reason (pic: Inpho)

BATTLE LIONS ARE DRAWN: Lions head coach, Warren Gatland poses with captain, Sam Warbuton and they’re joined by what looks to be Sebastian Chabal for some reason (pic: Inpho)

After all the speculation, now we know who can start getting the jabs and building up their tolerance of that unrelenting Aussie confidence. In keeping with his persona of a gruff, single-minded Kiwi who does what he wants, Warren Gatland named a Lions squad that won’t please most people outside of Wales, but one that suits him perfectly.

The knee-jerk media reaction to Jonny Wilkinson’s excellent performance for Toulon against Saracens in the Heineken Cup semi-final wasn’t enough to book his ticket and the absence of England captain, Chris Robshaw has raised many an eyebrow. The omission of Rory Best is another another puzzler, while the wisdom of selecting just two out-halves is being questioned, particularly in view of taking three scrum halves.

The squad in full is:

Full backs:

Halfpenny, Hogg, Kearny

Wings:

Bowe, Cuthbert, Maitland, North

Centres:

Davies, O’Driscoll, Roberts, Tuilagi

Half-backs:

Murray, Phillips, B. Youngs, Farrell, Sexton

Front rows:

Cole, Healy, Jenkins, A. Jones, Stevens, ,Vunipola, Hibbard, T. Youngs, Hartley

Locks:

Evans, Gray, Wyn Jones, O’Connell, Parling

Back rows:

Croft, Faletau, Heaslip, Lydiate, O’Brien, Tipuric, Warbuton (captain)

That’s 15 Welsh, 10 English, nine Irish and three Scots. Understandably, Twitter was rife with comment and opinion. Here’s some of the more interesting stuff:

Will Greenwood highlights the notable list of ommissions through the medium of e-sympathy:

Mrs. BOD wish Brian the best of luck. I think.
https://twitter.com/amyhuberman/status/329178129212002304

Then she congratulates the other Irish lads:

Wallaby, Quade Cooper celebrates the prospect of going head to head with Scotland’s Sean Maitland:

Jamie Heaslip allows himself to get a little soppy:

OPTA Jonny turns to the stats to burst a few bubbles:

Brian Moore says something quite angrily, as you might expect:

Paul Kelso of Sky News humourously kicks the hornets nest:

The BBC’s Dan Roan provides a Twitter friendly biography of suprise pick, Matt Stevens:

Frankie Sheahan consoles Munster’s Peter O’Mahony, Colm Tully spots a subtext:

Austin Healey critiques the selection in a not especially specific way:

The Welsh Dai Lama doesn’t feel too sorry for Chris Ashton:

According to the odds, it hasn’t impacted the Lions chances of victory much. The tourists are still narrow 8/11 favourites to record their first series win since they visited South Africa in 1997.

As our office abacus tells us, 37 into 15 doesn’t go and there’s going to be fierce competition for a place in the starting XV. Johnny Sexton looks nailed on at out-half, as does Jamie Roberts at centre, but elsewhere the picture is less clear. The full range of selection headaches are available here.

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