Rugby is not a place for sentimentality. Sentiment often proves costly or dangerous. Still, it is hard not to feel for Brian O’Driscoll.
Saturday should have been BOD’s Lions swansong, a chance to bring down the curtain on an amazing Lions career spanning four tours! Even better, a chance to do it on a test series victory. Series victories for the Lions have become as rare as players like O’Driscoll have in rugby.
Warren Gatland has scant regard for over emotion or reputation. The only feeling the Kiwi cares for is the glorious glow of success.
As a player, Gatland learned to live with disappointment having been considered a constant second best for the All Blacks behind the mercurial and ever present Sean Fitzpatrick. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
By comparison, O’Driscoll has been bride so many times it would make Liz Taylor blush. Always first choice, be it for Leinster, Ireland or the Lions, but this time Warren Gatland was the black cloud looming over the church ruining the big day.
As a coach, Gatland has never been one to shy away from making the decisions that will disappoint or upset if he feels those decisions are correct. He has left his assistant at home, ended a Welsh legend's international career on 99 caps and started a Welsh game with 13 players from a single region.
This time he has decided O’Driscoll will spend the third test adorned in blazer and tie rather than the mud, blood and sweat 'Drico' would prefer. It is a bitter pill to swallow for a man who has done little wrong and has legions of admirers.
With his decision, Gatland has either rained on the wedding or will reign supreme. We will all bicker, argue and debate, but we won't know until around 1pm on Saturday whether the decision is right or not.
However, if you remove all sense of emotion from the situation, it was nothing more than a 50/50 call. Two excellent outside centres raising their hands for selection with one shirt to pull on.
The third test selection; a total wash out or just a storm in a teacup?
Guns N' Roses - November Rain