What if I told you that there was this rugby player, who scored 11 tries in 21 matches working under Warren Gatland in the final 18 months of his Wales tenure.
During that time, that same player became the top try-scorer at the Rugby World Cup and would go on to score three tries in three matches during this season’s Six Nations, a strike rate as good as anyone’s.
Now I tell you that same player is the top try-scorer on the current Lions tour and is the most clinical finisher in the tourists’ history, averaging one try every 37 minutes.
READ MORE: Warren Gatland reveals why he left Josh Adams out of Lions Test team
READ MORE: ‘This is Wales’ lowest number of Lions Test players in 16 years’
Here’s the kicker. That same player has been completely overlooked for selection in the first Test and will be watching on from the stands.
What is your reaction – surprise, shock, incredulity or something stronger? By the way, he’s fully fit.
The player in question, of course, is Josh Adams and things do not stack up.
Gatland, when quizzed on the startling omission, spoke without conviction and, if you were being cynical, you’d guess it was because he was having to defend a decision that was not totally his.
He pointed to the emotional toll the last week has had on Adams, who missed the birth of his first child last Wednesday.
“I said to him, when it came to the wingers, it was probably an easy out for us, really – and I’m not saying that lightly, but he did have an emotional week and then on the Saturday, with the emotion and stuff and a couple of knocks he took in the game, he was reasonably quiet in that game as well,” said the head coach.
“We looked at it and that was possibly the deciding factor.”
As the first two facts I just trotted out prove, Adams is a man who has consistently delivered for Gatland since he was introduced to the Test arena in 2018.
In that time Adams scored more tries than he made mistakes. Gatland will, by now, surely have complete faith in the winger.
And yet, after the one game on tour when Adams didn’t score a try, Gatland has lost faith? I can’t buy it. I just can’t. There is something else at play here.
But there are clues elsewhere in Gatland’s press conference.
“That was by far the toughest call for us, in terms of who we picked in the back three,” says Gatland.
That can quite confidently be interpreted as the back three being the department that provoked the most debate because it was the source of the most disagreement.
Gatland also added: “I asked the coaches to come along [to the team selection meeting] with their 23s, we were all different.
“We all had to compromise and debate different positions, that’s the way it should be.
“I know a lot of people think it’s the team that I select, but that’s never been the way.
“I can tell you that not one of the coaches got the 23 they came along to the meeting with. In the forward pack we had four of the same eight and in the backline we had three of the same seven between the five of us.”
So now we learn that the side was selected by committee, Gatland did not have total autonomy and there was an element of compromise involved.
Given everything we know about Adams and Gatland’s relationship, I cannot comprehend the latter believing that the former is not the best winger available to him ahead of this weekend’s match.
But what I can absolutely see is Lions attack guru – and Scotland head coach – Gregor Townsend pushing the case of Duhan van der Merwe as hard as possible.
Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. You can absolutely understand coaches pushing hard for players they are more familiar with, especially in the tight calls.
Gatland spoke about compromise – is this where he had to give a little? Perhaps. It certainly begins to make a little more sense when you view it through that lens.
Let me put it another way. If, say, Rob Howley were attack coach this time around – just as he was in 2009, 2013 an 2017 – no part of me doubts that Adams would be starting on Saturday.
“There is no doubt he [Adams] will hopefully feature, going forward,” said Gatland. “He knows where the try line is, knows how to score.”
Hopefully feature? I rest my case, your honour.
Whilst this may start to make sense of the most bemusing of selection decisions, it does not make it less unpalatable.
There is no doubt that van der Merwe, who unquestionably is the one who has taken Adams’ spot in the back three, is a massive problem for opposition defences.
But, statistically speaking, Adams has also been one of the best performers in the wing department and, anecdotally, he is the most rounded wideman at Gatland’s disposal.
He scores tries, makes good decisions in defence and is superb under the high ball. He has everything and the same cannot be said for his peers.
Yes, you have to take into account the quality of the opposition the Lions have faced for the majority of the tour so far but what more could Adams have done? Nothing.
Do you agree with Adams’ omission? Have your say
Calling all British and Irish Lions fans, we want your views.
You can become even more involved with Gist Vile’s Lions coverage by signing up to leave comments on stories, delivering your verdict, discussing the biggest breaking news and also chatting to our journalists.
Click here to get started.
We can never know for certain what goes on behind closed doors but, when it comes down to it, there are one of two things at play here.
There is either something we are not being told or Townsend’s powers of persuasion have resulted in the Scottish winger landing a starting spot, leaving Adams to watch on from the stand.
Whatever happens on Saturday, the case for the Welshman to start this match was overwhelming.
Ultimately, though, it will be Gatland facing the music if the decision comes back to haunt the Lions.
Whether he was the one pushing for it or not.
For the latest rugby updates sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up to our ROAR or Welsh rugby newsletters.