We genuinely have no idea how this piece of information had remained undiscovered until recently. 

We probably all still remember the day that we heard that Brian O'Driscoll had been dropped from the final Lions squad by Warren Gatland; where we were, who we talked to and how it happened. A nation was well and truly shocked. 

Obviously, you can understand then the position that his sister Julie and wife Amy Huberman were in when they got the news, presumably a bit worse than you were. That was why there was only one person at that point who would be able to comfort them, console them, and commiserate with them: Ray Meagher aka Alf Stewart.

Meagher was in Cork this past weekend and during a Q&A session with an audience at Bishopstown Bar, and revealed that "Amy (Huberman) and Brian O’Driscoll’s sister came out to the set the day that whatshisname, the Welsh coach from New Zealand, Gatland, dropped Brian from the third test. They were on the set for a long time and they were devastated. I couldn’t get over it either. There must have been a bit of carry-on here because even in Australia, people were saying: what’s up with the guy, is he mad?". 


We can scarcely think of anyone better suited for the job, but it seems that Alf is not a fan of Gatland, despite being a pretty big rugby supporter in general, given that he refers to him as "whatshisname", but he also reckons he made the wrong decision on the tour: "I reckon Brian should have been there on merit, absolutely and utterly, but you could have put me in there and the Lions would have won that day. Just to cap his career, he'd earnt that. Even if he was the second-best centre, which he wasn't, he was the number one pick for that spot on form". 

Ray's opinion is not to be discounted either, as it seems that in his day he was a decent player, having togged out for Queensland against a touring French side, and even had a trial with the Wallabies in 1969. "I played Number 10... pulling the strings, yeah. I’ve put on a bit of weight since", he stated, before adding that "I would have been lucky [to make the team]. The selectors were very wise and left me at home".

By our calculations, if he was half as good at rugby as he has been at rescuing people from the bush over the years, then he must have been pretty decent. Legend has it he once stoned a flamin' crow from 50 yards as he attempted a last-minute, game-winning drop at goal. Both crow and ball flew between the uprights...

Via The Irish Examiner