British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has stressed the door is not closed on any member of his touring party after naming his side to face the Springboks in the first Test on Saturday.
Ulster’s Iain Henderson, as well as Josh Adams Chris Harris and Taulupe Faletau, were among the big names left out off the match-day 23 after a selection meeting where Gatland revealed only seven players were unanimous decisions among his entire coaching group.
With this only the start of what is sure to be a bruising series, Gatland says the door is still open for those left watching on.
“I showed them some stats from previous tours of how the Test team from Test one to Test two to Test three, how many changes have been made traditionally,” he said. “So even though everyone is not involved, hopefully they will still get opportunities.”
Henderson’s absence from the bench was the only change from the reported team that emerged on Tuesday evening with Gatland revealing the leak will cause a change to his method of announcing next week.
“I don’t know how that happened,” he added. “It wasn’t a hundred percent right, but obviously someone leaked that out.”