Luke Fitzgerald has branded some of Warren Gatland’s Lions squad selections as ‘bizarre and contradictory’.

Luke Fitzgerald has branded some of Warren Gatland’s Lions squad selections as ‘bizarre and contradictory’.
It was a mixed day for the Irish as although eight players made the cut, such as Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong and Robbie Henshaw, Ireland captain Johnny Sexton along with stars such as James Ryan and Garry Ringrose were squeezed out.
Conor Murray, Andrew Porter, Bundee Aki, Jack Conan and Iain Henderson were the other Ireland players who got the call from Gatland, but there was a lot of focus on whose names werent called out too.
Speaking on The Left Wing,’s rugby podcast, Luke Fitzgerald questioned the overall selection process.
“You want to be positive about things but there are some really bizarre decisions,” Fitzgerald said.
“And there are contradictory decisions. Some people are picked for their physicality, and then some people don’t fit that bill. Then I look at other people who are picked on form and others are aren’t in form but got picked.
“I just think there are contradictions all over the place. You could say that there are 37 people there, and that is always going to be the way and you just have to fit the coach’s eye. Otherwise, you call into question the consistency in the selection and the criteria that they use.”
James Ryan was one of the big Ireland omissions, with Gatland saying that Leinster’s inability to deal with physical Saracens and La Rochelle packs counting against the second row. Fitzgerald questioned that point, and brought up Exeter second row Jonny Hill, who was included ahead of Ryan.
“I think if it is based on La Rochelle, it is unfair and doesn’t really make sense,” Fitzgerald said.
“One of the few tests that Exeter had this year was against Leinster and their pack got destroyed, and I didn’t think Jonny Hill was good against Ireland either. I think he has potential and he is a big man, but there is no way you can tell me he is a better player than James Ryan.
“Also, is Courtney Lawes a heavyweight? I don’t think he is in that sense. I think Will Skelton would make a lot of players look a bit silly.”
Out-half was one of the most competitive areas in the touring squad, with Gatland opting for England’s Owen Farrell, Wales’ Dan Biggar and Scotland’s Finn Russell. Sexton, who had hoped to go on his third tour, has been sidelined in recent weeks following another concussion, his third this year.
Gatland said that the coaches questioned Sexton’s ability to withstand a physical tour in South Africa, although Fitzgerald said that the Ireland captain’s performances in the Six Nations should have been enough to get a seat on the plane – and possibly a place in the test team.
“He missed the French game but he played 69 minutes against Wales in a really attritional game and played brilliantly,” Fitzgerald said.
“Then look at Ireland’s last three games that they won and how integral he was. He played 80 minutes in each one.
“He is a little bit older than the other guys but you have to bring someone who can start.
“Finn Russell can’t start. He isn’t a very physical player. I do love watching Finn Russell but in the big games, I don’t think he has shown up on a lot of occasions.
“I think Johnny has a chance to start if he is fit. When they are picking that first test team and seeing who is playing well, I don’t see Finn Russell being there to start.