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Rugby

08th May 2017

Mike Brown’s furious Lions revelation is surely good news for Irish hopefuls

Front of the queue?

Niall McIntyre

Positive news.

English fullback Mike Brown has admitted his disgust at receiving no information from Warren Gatland about whether or not he is a standby pick for the British and Irish Lions squad.

This news surely bodes well for Irish pair Simon Zebo and Rob Kearney, who now appear to be the first reserves in the case of injury to any of the fullbacks in Gatland’s squad.

A recent injury to Dan Bigger and the loss of Ben Youngs under tragic personal circumstances prove that the likelihood of a standby player being called up are relatively strong, such is the attritional nature of modern rugby.

Zebo’s versatility is expected to have him ahead of Kearney in the pecking order so the Munster talisman still has a chance of making it to New Zealand in the case of injuries to any of Gatland’s first choice back threes. Zebo has experience in all positions across the line and this is surely a positive for the Corkonian.

Gatland, who oversaw the Lions tour of Australia in 2013, is well aware of the danger that injury poses. Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins, for example, were both struck with injuries having to abandon their respective tours of Australia.

The Harlequins star further revealed that he was “gutted” by Warren Gatland’s decision to leave him out of the 41- strong British and Irish Lions squad for the three-Test series with New Zealand this summer.

Brown feels that his performances since 2015 warrant his inclusion in the squad. The 60 times capped fullback, who started all five of England’s Six Nations campaign has vowed not to let Gatland’s decision define him, and he’ll now focus on England’s tour of Argentina in the summer.

“I didn’t take it well. I was gutted. I feel I’ve played really well from 2015 onwards so it was really disappointing not to get the call, but you can’t let one man’s decision define you.

“It’s really disappointing for guys like myself, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley because we probably won’t get another opportunity. I’ve had no feedback about being on standby either, which is also disappointing, so I’m not going to keep up false hopes.

Our hearts bleed for the Englishmen.

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