In the end the ‘leaks’ turned out to be close but not quite spot on.
Whilst most of the England players mentioned yesterday as missing out did indeed not hear their names called, Jonathan Joseph wasn’t one of them and will be on the plane.
Not surprisingly the carping from all sides about the make-up of the squad has already started – my own view is that like Brexit, it’s done – so now everyone has to be on the same side and get on with it.
Of course there will be disappointment amongst those not selected – that is to be expected. But the parochial whinging is not helpful for a team that is supposed to bring the four sides and fans together on the 4 yearly ‘crusade’ to the Southern Hemisphere.
The moaning is not unusual – it has always happened after the Lions squad announcement – I remember the outcry when Peter Wheeler was left out of the 1983 tour to New Zealand. The captain was Ciaran Fitzgerald and even the Irish agreed that Wheeler was the better player – and the reason why he wasn’t selected.
I think the World Cup has sadly increased the partisanship attitude of fans – naturally there will be those who cannot see beyond their own players, but now it is even more evident as rivalries have intensified.
However, many of those who didn’t hear their names read out will almost certainly still end up on the tour as injuries occur – there were 8 replacements in 2013, when the tour itinerary was pale by comparison to this summer’s schedule.
Yesterday even Graham Henry described it as ‘suicidal’ –
It is likely that there will be at least a couple of replacements needed before the squad even assemble at Heathrow – the run in for the Pro12 and Premiership, the play-offs and finals and the European Cups will almost certainly have some casualties.
The Scots will feel aggrieved with only two places – they were almost certainly undone in the Twickenham match. Hamish Watson suffered from the strength of the back rows available.
Joe Launchbury had a similar problem regarding the number of quality locks – and may even have been penalised by the fact that so many English players were included.
I am also surprised that there weren’t more Irish in the squad.
With the quality of players available it was always unlikely that Warren Gatland would go for uncapped or out and out bolters.
So, get over the disappointment and get ready for the tour.