Gatland Quits Lions & Admits Sean O’Brien’s Comments Hurt Him
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Warren Gatland is finished with the British & Irish Lions, and says he will never coach them again after this summer’s tour of New Zealand. Gatland has admitted that he “hated” the tour and will no ‘subject himself’ to another.
“I’m done. I hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand.
“When I look back on it now, there were a lot of things that were satisfying and what an achievement it was, but it was tough work. It was hard.”
“What I’ve learned from my Lions’ experiences is how difficult it is to put some continuity together in terms of people and staff, and the lack of preparation time. Let someone else do it. Let someone else reinvent the wheel.”
Gatland was also asked about Sean O’Brien’s comments about him and his coaching staff, and says he is very hurt by them.
“I went,’ Phew!’ If he wanted to say something, then there is a different forum rather than being critical. No-one has ever in the history of the game taken on a tour of that magnitude or difficulty.
“Did we learn as coaches from that experience? Would we have done some things differently? Of course we would. That’s part of coaching, part of the experience. If he was going to make some comments, then he could have done so in a different way.
“You watch how hard the coaches and the back-room staff worked – they worked their absolute b*****s off on that tour – and then to have someone come out and make a comment like that … it really, really did hurt.”
“The disappointing thing, I thought Sean’s comments were disrespectful to New Zealand, saying that we should have comfortably won the series 3-0. I don’t know what planet he is on, but I was on a different tour to him if he thought we should have won comfortably.
“To be honest, you take 41 players on tour and you are not going to keep everyone happy. There are going to be players disappointed, feeling they haven’t had a chance or an opportunity. I understand that. That’s the nature of professional sport.