"It was a close run thing," admitted Rowntree, "but we just felt that TF's lack of game time in recent years counted against him.
"He's gutted and rightly so. Frankly I'd have taken a punt but for some reason Jamie Heaslip was preferred.
From his Hertforshire home the 48½ year old backrower admitted that he was "devastated". After missing out on the 1983, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 Lions tours (the latter by the skin of his teeth), the portly no. 8 had set his sights on making the 2013 squad.
"Having reached a peak of fitness in 2009 and having scored a hat-trick of tries against Datchworth 4th XV I was still cruelly overlooked" he said.
"This time I have made sure that I have no form and no fitness and still they won't pick me. And yet they have the temerity to select Dan Lydiate.
"I even wrote to Mr Gatland to point out that my parents hail from North Wales and that I can say
'Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch' but frankly what a waste of ink that was.
"Bottom line is that Gatland's clearly ageist."
And, despite Graham Rowntree's assurances, TF doesn't even believe that it's likely he'll be called up for duty in the event of injury.
"Apparently there's some bloke called Robshaw ahead of me in the pecking order," he commented "and he doesn't even know a word of Welsh."