Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton admitted that he was massively disappointed on missing out on the selection for the recently concluded British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
Sexton has featured in 99 Tests for Ireland since his international debut in 2009 and featured in three Rugby World Cups in 2011, 2015 and 2019. He went on to win the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018 after previously being a nominee in 2014.
Having been part of the Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and 2017 respectively, Sexton was expected to be part of Lions squad this year but Warren Gatland preferred Dan Biggar, Finn Russell and Owen Farrell.
Even went Russell had an injury scare, Gatland went on to opt for 22-year-old Marcus Smith over the Irish star as he admitted that it was a tough pill to swallow.
"The emotions have obviously changed a little bit," he told the Irish Independent.
"When you don’t get picked, it’s a massive disappointment.
"But, look, they went a certain way and I wasn’t a part of their plans. It was tough but that’s life. I’ve had lots of setbacks in my career and now it’s up to me to bounce back this season.
"Not that I’m over it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, but I’ve come to terms with it. I accepted it a long time ago that it wasn’t going to be.
"I’ve had a good pre-season with Leinster and I’m looking forward to getting started.
"Never once when I didn’t get picked did I say, 'at least I’ll be all good for next season,' that’s not how I think.
"It was a huge disappointment. The Lions was in the forefront of my thoughts for the last couple of years, but that’s life and now it’s a case of trying to attack this season.
"I’ll hopefully be ready to go and have a good start to this season and be ready to put myself forward for Irish selection."