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Gatland’s Claim On James Ryan Lions Snub Seem To Contradict Ryan's View

Gatland’s Claim On James Ryan Lions Snub Seem To Contradict Ryan's View
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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Warren Gatland has selected his Lions 23, with 10 Irish starters and two on the bench, and the likes of James Ryan, Jack Conan, and Jamison Gibson Park all making the cut.

It's a world class team on paper with few 'snubs', but the most intriguing aspect of the selection are Gatland's comments under James Ryan, whom he starts at 4:

We wanted to take him on the Lions Tour in '21 but he was unavailable for personal reasons, and he has since grown and matured into a world-class lock with great leadership skills. He has an excellent all-round game.

These words are in direct contradiction to James Ryan's comments after he failed to get selected for the initial Lions Tour in 2021, and was overlooked once again when Alun Wyn Jones was injured.

I was disappointed at the time, yeah,” Ryan told RTE in September 2021.

It feels like a long time ago now, so at this stage I’m only really looking forward, and as I said it’s such an exciting season this year to look forward to.

Delighted to be in the last few weeks and looking forward to hopefully getting stuck in again this week.

No, I’m not interested in ruminating or anything, I’m just looking forward now and looking to get better as a player.

Gatland, at the time, also stated that Ryan was not selected because he felt there were better options. At the time of Jones' injury Ryan did have a minor injury issue but was fit enough to play for and captain Ireland.

Warren Gatland And James Ryan Comments Do Not Align

4 February 2023; Wales head coach Warren Gatland, right, and Ireland head coach Andy Farrell during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Wales and Ireland at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

READ HERE: Brian O'Driscoll Recalls Powerful James Ryan Moment During Visit To Ireland Camp


Gatland makes it clear that he was taking current injuries into account with his Lions 23, which rules out players such as Garry Ringrose, Rónan Kelleher, and Finn Russell.


He also acknowledges that there was nothing between Jack Conan, Peter O'Mahony, and Jamie Ritchie in the selection, mentioning twice how unlucky O'Mahony was not to be picked.

Arguably the biggest snub from an Irish perspective is the non-selection of Mack Hansen, but the Six Nations Player of the Tournament nominee is also noted as being 'very unlucky'.

Warren Gatland's Lions 23:

  1. Ellis Genge
  2. Dan Sheehan
  3. Tadhg Furlong
  4. James Ryan
  5. Maro Itoje
  6. Jack Conan
  7. Josh van der Flier
  8. Caelan Doris
  9. Jamison Gibson-Park
  10. Johnny Sexton
  11. James Lowe
  12. Sione Tuipulotu
  13. Huw Jones
  14. Duhan van der Merwe
  15. Hugo Keenan

16. George Turner
17. Andrew Porter
18. Zander Fagerson
19. Jonny Gray
20. Jamie Ritchie
21. Alex Mitchell
22. Owen Farrell
23. Robbie Henshaw

SEE ALSO: Controversial Freddie Steward Red Card Rescinded By World Rugby

Freddie Steward Hugo Keenan

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