British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has admitted his squad selection for the 2013 tour to Australia could have been far stronger had he listened to the casual rugby viewing public.
In an unprecedented move Gatland, currently taking a sabbatical from his role as head coach of Wales, sent an open letter to every national newspaper in the UK and Ireland to 'apologise for his short-sightedness' concerning the eagerly awaited squad selection.
The admission, just days after the 37-man touring squad for the ten-match tour of Australia and Hong Kong was originally announced, came after a barrage of criticism for the New Zealander from both the press and public.
"What was I thinking?" pondered Gatland as he surveyed one of approximately 40,000 newspaper headlines on Jonny Wilkinson not being selected for the tour. "Why did I think that I would know best? After all I've only won two Grand Slams, three English Premierships, the Anglo-Welsh Cup, the European Cup, the Parker Pen Shield and the Air New Zealand Cup.
"I should have listened to Toby Spencer of Richmond who had some great advice on Twitter regarding English backs. Or perhaps to James O'Connor in Limerick who had some superb and balanced views on the issue of the captaincy based on his run as skipper back as a twelve-year-old in the school cup."
Whilst the former All Blacks hooker takes the brunt of the responsibility, he has also implicated his management team in what he now sees in hindsight as a 'hugely arrogant mistake'.For the full story click here.