Here are your rugby morning headlines for Monday, February 1.
Lions tour unlikely to be in Australia
Australia’s offer to host the South Africa v Lions series is unlikely to be accepted, the Telegraph and others report.
The suggestion was put forward as Lions bosses struggle to find the right way forward, with fans almost certainly unable to attend in South Africa or the UK.
But, while the Australia solution does offer the prospect of supporters inside stadiums, it is still unlikely hordes of British and Irish fans will be able to travel Down Under in July and August.
Up to 30,000 fans a day are about to attend the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne, while Australia successfully staged the Rugby Championship after South Africa withdrew during the autumn.
With the idea has some appeal, it’s reported the logistical and financial obstacles will likely prove to much.
Quinnell’s bold Six Nations prediction
The always positive Scott Quinnell is predicting a shock Wales Six Nations win despite the struggles of Wayne Pivac’s side in the autumn.
Quinnell, who hosted Sunday night’s Scrum V preview show, reckons Wales have it in them to stun their rivals.
“You talk about head and heart, they are the same thing for me,” he said in typically tub-thumping fashion.
“I’ve got to go for Wales. We’ve had bad years in the past and, OK, last year wasn’t great, but we’ve bounced back from bad years before with Grand Slams.
“That’s why, if we beat Ireland in this first game, we’re on a roll to a Grand Slam. You just wait and see.”
Quinnell’s fellow pundits on the show, Elinor Snowsill and Nathan Brew, went for more modest fourth-placed finishes for Wales.
Who should make the Wales team? Have your say now.
O’Driscoll reveals Gatland’s ‘mistake’
Brian O’Driscoll has once again opened the old wounds of his 2013 Lions axing, telling Warren Gatland he made a mistake in the aftermath of that infamous decision.
While the Irish legend accepted the decision to drop him in favour of Jonathan Davies for the final Test against the Wallabies, he didn’t like what happened next.
RugbyPass report O’Driscoll telling The Rugby Centurions podcast on TheXV, he felt disconnected from the Test team after not being allowed to train with them in their final training session. It is not something he liked at all.
“I came down on the Friday and on our whiteboard it said, ‘Non-23 are not needed at training’,” O’Driscoll said. “I thought, they don’t even want us to hold shields. I found that very difficult.
“You just want to have the connectivity to it, and that’s the issue with Lions tours – there is a breakaway group in that final week that just want to be home. I wasn’t ready to be part of that, I just wanted to be part of the group that could create history and even have a small impact in getting them prepared.
“I said to Gats a few years afterwards that I thought that was a mistake, they should have given an option to players that wanted to go training to go and be part of the collective, because in so many teams it’s those that don’t get chosen that prep the team for battle.
“I said that as captain for years and then all of a sudden I had to live it. And I couldn’t be poacher turned gamekeeper because it didn’t suit Gats. I remember that being a long 48 hours before the game and just not being involved in the environment properly.”
Wales will name their team to play Ireland on Friday this week.
The day is later than usual because the match at the Principality Stadium is on Sunday afternoon (3pm kick-off).
The 2021 tournament begins with Italy v France at 2.15pm on Saturday, followed by England v Scotland at 4.45pm.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk