Warren Gatland has delivered a blunt verdict on Ryan Jones' omission from the Lions squad, declaring: "There is no favouritism."
A total of 13 Wales players will feature in the Lions’ South Africa-bound tour party.
But Ospreys forward Jones, who led Wales to the RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam a year ago, is not among them.
He joins fellow Six Nations skippers Mike Blair (Scotland) and Steve Borthwick (England) in missing out on the 10-match trip.
The political fall-out could be considerable in Wales, especially as Lions forwards supremo Gatland runs the national side.
But no-nonsense New Zealander Gatland said: “There is no favouritism.
“Selection is not about captains or countries. The squad has been picked on form and he is not playing well enough at the moment.
“I hope he will take his disappointment on the chin and I am sure he will continue to work hard.”
While Jones is left to reflect on where it all went wrong, five of his Ospreys colleagues - Lee Byrne, Shane Williams, Mike Phillips, Adam Jones and Alun-Wyn Jones - will make the trip.
But EDF Energy Cup winners and Heineken Cup semi-finalists Cardiff Blues eclipsed that figure, as Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Martyn Williams and Andy Powell all gained selection.
As for Jones’ omission, Wales attack coach and Lions assistant Rob Howley added: “The last three or four weeks, Ryan will admit he has not been playing to his potential.”
Jones can expect to be on the Lions’ standby list - most tours produce at least seven injury casualties - but in the short term he is likely to captain Wales’ two-Test North American tour this summer.