British & Irish Lions 2017: Lack of coaches cost Scots Lions places - O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll off-loads
Brian O'Driscoll played on four successive British & Irish Lions tours between 2001 and 2013

Former British and Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll believes Scottish tour contenders suffered for not having a representative on the coaching panel.

Only two Scots - Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour - were selected in Warren Gatland's 41-man squad for the summer trip to New Zealand.

Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend and Scotland attack coach Jason O'Halloran both turned down Lions roles.

"Because there was no Scottish voice, I think they lost out," O'Driscoll said.

"You have to have someone pushing your name forward in those very, very tight selections. There was no Scottish coach in the selection meetings batting for any Scotland players."

Head coach Gatland, who is on a break from leading Wales to take charge of the Lions, included 12 members of the Welsh squad that finished fifth in this year's Six Nations and were beaten by Scotland at Murrayfield.

Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour
Hogg (left) previously toured with the Lions while Glasgow colleague Seymour is included for the first time

O'Driscoll, who earned a place on four successive Lions tours - but was unexpectedly dropped by Gatland for the decisive third Test against Australia in 2013 - is not surprised the New Zealander has trusted those he knows.

"I'm not shocked at that at all," the former Ireland centre told BBC Sport. "You see it the world over.

"We've seen it in Ireland for the first couple of years of Joe Schmidt's tenure as Ireland coach. He went, time and time again in the 50-50 decisions, back to the Leinster players that he knew well, knew the personalities, that had done a job for him."

Gatland has insisted player nationalities did not influence the selection of the squad, which also features 16 England players and 11 from the Ireland squad.

"I didn't realise the split in the numbers," he said this week.

"We put together a group of players in each position we felt were in contention and then we went through and individually selected those players."

'I definitely think they can win a Test'

O'Driscoll, 38, captained the Lions on their last visit to New Zealand in 2005, but his involvement in the tour was curtailed by injury less than two minutes into the first Test.

He warns facing the back-to-back world champions on their own patch is the toughest task in rugby, but believes the Lions can upset the odds.

"They need their best players out on the park, they need to make sure they don't have a big injury toll to some of their key players," he added.

Brian O'Driscoll is stretchered off with a dislocated shoulder
O'Driscoll's 2005 tour of New Zealand ended in injury

"It's not a three-Test tour down there, it's like playing 10 Test matches against New Zealand opposition. They're fighting for their lives, they're fighting for history, to be remembered as the side that beat the Lions.

"It's the most difficult place to go and play, and that's before you come up against the mighty All Blacks, so you need a lot of things to go your way. You need a little bit of luck, you need a very good gameplan, and you need everyone playing on form, and then you've got a chance, such is the difficulty of playing down there.

"I definitely think they can win a Test match, and if they can win one, they can squeeze a second one. There's no doubt the All Blacks are strong favourites to win the series, but you don't think it's a foregone conclusion."

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