Gatland opens up huge online debate with latest selection
By Rugby Onslaught

Gatland opens up huge online debate with latest selection

Warren Gatland faced a major problem after his British & Irish Lions side faced an aerial bombardment in the second Test against the Springboks, and that was choosing which players to drop.

In reality, all three members of the back three, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson and Stuart Hogg, had a torrid time and faced being axed, but Liam Williams and Josh Adams looked to be the only two players that could be brought in from the cold. Elliot Daly and Louis Rees-Zammit were also options, but Daly provides cover on the bench and Rees-Zammit may be too inexperienced for such a huge game.

Gatland opted to drop Watson for Adams and Hogg for Williams, which has proven to be controversial online. Many fans and pundits feel van der Merwe was in line to be dropped, favouring Watson over him. The South African-born Scotland winger was yellow carded in the first half for a trip, and struggled with the Springboks’ kicking game just as much as his teammates.

It is likely that there would have been a similar uproar if van der Merwe was dropped and Watson was retained, but this has not pleased many Lions fans.

What van der Merwe does bring is power and physicality, although that has hardly been exploited in the first two Tests, with the Lions barely seeking to pass the ball. With Bundee Aki also in the team this week, this may suggest a tweak in tactics by Gatland where the team will keep the ball in hand more. If that is the case, van der Merwe could be pivotal in making ground in the midfield by coming off his wing.

But for now it looks like his selection has not been too popular, so he has plenty of people to prove wrong in the third Test on Saturday.

This is what has been said: