Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll, 34, has sensationally been dropped by the British and Irish Lions for their vital third test against Australia in Sydney.

A fit again Jamie Roberts is preferred. It had been widely expected that O’Driscoll would captain the side after an injury ruled out captain Sam Warburton, the Irish Times reports.

O'Driscoll does not even make the reserve bench as coach Warren Gatland goes with ten Welsh players in his final test match.

“Obviously, he was disappointed, as anyone is, but he appreciated the fact that he was spoken to before the announcement,” said Gatland.

“It’s the first time that any coach has had that decision with him in 15 years of rugby. It’s not easy for that to be the first time, but he’s still going to be very important for us for the next 72 hours in terms of his experience and leadership. He’s been involved in the first two Tests, but Jamie’s back fit and Jamie’s been given the nod in terms of that partnership of Jamie and Jon Davies in the midfield.

“It wasn’t about leadership – it was about picking what we felt was the best team. We did that, and then we went through and the next question was who we felt could do the best job in terms of captaining. Alun Wyn gets his opportunity on Saturday. There were a number of candidates but it wasn’t about picking a captain first, it was about picking what we felt was the best team first.”

Following the decision, a devastated O’Driscoll posted a Twitter message. “Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through,” he wrote.

Brian O'DriscollGoogle Images