Rugby

Jonathan Davies Recalls Abuse He Received After Taking O'Driscoll's Lions Place

Jonathan Davies Recalls Abuse He Received After Taking O'Driscoll's Lions Place

Brian O'Driscoll is one of the greatest rugby players the game has ever seen. Very few can match his CV of personal and team achievements, and he performed at the highest level right to the end of his career.

Even though he was in the winter of his playing days during the Lions tour to Australia in 2013, it came as a massive shock when he was dropped for the third test of the series.

Warren Gatland's decision to draft in Welshman Jonathan Davies was a massively controversial one at the time, especially in this country. He was ultimately vindicated, with The Lions going on to win the third test.

One man that is often forgotten in this tale is Davies himself. He received a torrent of abuse on social media after the decision to drop O'Driscoll was made.

The two reunited to speak on BT Sport, and while Davies said he did get plenty of abuse, he didn't allow it to affect him.

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I thought it would go pretty wild, the reaction back home and stuff like that. I expected it and probably geared myself up for it.

I didn't expect to be selected and that was initially the shock. I remember getting on the bus and thinking 'you've got to knuckle down this week even more son'.

To be fair to you, you walked on the bus, shook my hand and congratulated me. After that it was more the social media stuff, the little circus and stuff. You're getting tweeted stuff...

I took it with a pinch of salt. I remember speaking to my brother over facetime and he was laughing at it. He was reading the tweets back to me and I was like 'I've already read them, I don't need this'.

I probably used it as a motivating factor, like 'I'll prove you wrong, I'm going to do the best I can and make sure we win the series'. That's what focused me...

The location was Dublin on all the tweets!

He seemed to take it all with a pinch of salt, in fairness.

It's also great to hear about the touch of class from O'Driscoll after the team was announced.

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Gary Connaughton

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