McBride fears for Lions ethos as O'Driscoll is dropped for final Test
Willie John McBride says he fears for the ethos of the British & Irish Lions after Warren Gatland's decision to omit Brian O'Driscoll from Saturday's decisive Third Test against Australia.
Lions legend McBride said he was "gutted" by O'Driscoll's shock omission as coach Gatland paired Welsh centres Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies.
"You pick the best players you have around you," McBride told BBC Radio 4.
"I think the concept and the ethos of the Lions is beginning to slip."
Willie John McBride
“It's not about skill. It's not about the concept that the Lions have always had where we move the ball and score tries”
The two centres are among 10 Welshmen named in Gatland's starting line-up with the coach choosing to place his trust predominantly in players whom he has worked with in the Wales squad in recent years.
However, 1974 Lions skipper McBride made clear his concerns about the selection.
"I've heard a lot of talk about Welsh players. When you pick a Lions team, they are not Welsh any longer."
McBride also questioned the decisions to draft Ulster prop Tom Court and Japan-based Shane Williams into the squad for brief periods during the tour.
"They picked a player (Court) who was at home in Brisbane and who happened to be there.
"He didn't earn his place in the squad.
" They brought another player, who was a good player, Shane Williams, flew him in from Japan. He played one game and then he flew out the next day.
"I don't think that is the concept of the Lions that I know. That is very disappointing to me."
In terms of O'Driscoll's omission, McBride added that Australian coach Robbie Deans "must be laughing all the way".
"He (O'Driscoll) was the guy I would have tipped to be captain of the tour.
"He has been a big influence so far.
"O'Driscoll's work-rate on the field (in the first two Tests) has been absolutely superb.
"His influence on the tour that I have seen so far has been terrific.
"The problem is that we are not making the gain-line and our forwards are not giving ball that the backs can use.
"When I looked at the game they were trying to play last Saturday, if they had been playing to now, they (still) wouldn't have scored a try."
McBride also believes that Gatland's selection of a "big strong team of players in the backs" is not in keeping with Lions traditions.
"It's not about skill. It's not about the concept that the Lions have always had where we move the ball and score tries."