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Davies defuses Wales-Ireland row

Lions captaincy candidates Ryan Jones & Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell is a possible Lions captain in South Africa

Lions team manager Gerald Davies says the row between possible captain Paul O'Connell and Warren Gatland is over.

Gatland sparked a war of words with O'Connell ahead of Ireland's Grand Slam-clinching win over Gatland's Wales at the weekend with pre-match comments.

The Wales coach said his players disliked Ireland's more than any other of the Six Nations, later backtracking.

O'Connell later told Gatland to keep his ego in check. Davies told BBC Wales: "It's done. It's finished."

The legendary ex-Wales and Lions wing added: "Those were words that were expressed at the time between two very mature, experienced players and I think they too think it's water under the bridge.


"It's all been done. We've said what we wanted to say. They will now, like the rest of us, look forward to being a Lion with the objective of going to South Africa having a successful tour.

"I can't see that that is going to rear its head again."

Davies says Lions coaching boss Ian McGeechan and his fellow selectors are now whittling down their selection options ahead of the 21 April announcement of the tour party.

He says players' form in the weekend's EDF Cup semi-finals and forthcoming Heineken Cup quarter-finals will be closely monitored, with particular attention paid to Munster's clash with the Ospreys on Sunday 12 April.

"When you think of the Heineken Cup there is one game there that's just a little bit more Wales v Ireland again - the Ospreys playing Munster," said Davies.

"Well that's going to be a big occasion where a lot of players who are in contention will be competing once more and we are looking forward to that as well.

"But… it [Lions selection] stretches beyond the Six Nations."

In the end we have to be very cruel, I think, in selecting the 35 or 36 players

Gerald Davies, Lions team manager

Davies went on: "We're drawing up a list. It's getting narrower all the time. We're getting to the nervous stages now.

"We are likely to have to put people out who may have done very well, but in the end we have to be very cruel, I think, in selecting the 35 or 36 players that we wish to take with us.

"It was a very uneven Six Nations. There were those who had their ups and downs. They were very good one moment and not so good afterwards.

"But the only team that seemed to me to have performed uniformally was the team that in the end won the Grand Slam - Ireland.

"They was pretty consistent throughout the season, whereas the others tended to drift in and out of form."

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see also
Four in frame for Lions captaincy
26 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Irish duo vie for Lions captaincy
25 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions Watch - Pundits' verdict
24 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Lions abandon extended squad plan
15 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani doubtful for Lions tour
23 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
McGeechan given Lions coach role
14 May 08 |  Rugby Union
O'Connell hits out at Gatland ego
22 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 15-17 Ireland
21 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union

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