Is recalling Smith inspiration or desperation?

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Brumbies George Smith steps out of the tackle by Highlanders Aaron Smith during the Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Brumbies at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, Friday, April 12, 2013. (AAP/NZN Image, SNPA, Ross Setford)

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Tomorrow night’s upcoming Test between the Wallabies and the Lions has highlighted an interesting conflict in coaching styles.

Robbie Deans has opted to bring legendary Wallaby flanker George Smith back into international rugby after a long international hiatus for apparently one game, whereas Warren Gatland has opted to drop legendary Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll despite screams of protest from loyal fans.

Regardless of your personal allegiance and opinion of the above selections, it is telling with regards to markedly conflicting coaching styles and probably indicates desperation on the part of Robbie Deans to clinch a win and keep his job.

I am impressed with Gatland’s bravery in dropping O’Driscoll.

I am sad for O’Driscoll of course, as he has been a talisman for the Britsh and the Lions for many years, but it could easily be thought he is not beyond his peak and youth and exuberance may now have overtaken his experience and skill. In this regard, perhaps Gatland is right.

I am less sure and less impressed by Deans’ selection of Smith. This seems an act of desperation rather than one of inspiration.

To drop up-and-coming youth to install experience after a long lay-off seems more like a grab for old glories rather than a search for new ones.

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