Warren Gatland slams critics, claims he 'hated' British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand

Gatland said the gloss has been taking off the achievement of the tour result
Gatland said the gloss has been taking off the achievement of the tour result Photo credit: Getty

Don't expect Warren Gatland to put his hand up to coach the British and Irish Lions again after the New Zealander admitted he 'hated' the tour of New Zealand.

Despite a drawn series against the two-time reigning world champions, the former All Blck hooker has few good memories from their six-week adventure.

Holding nothing back in a bitter interview with The Telegrapgh, Gatland said he would never coach the combined side again and slammed the media for the general tone of negativity they reported with during the tour.

"I wouldn't subject myself to that," Gatland said.

"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.

"I'm done. I hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand.

Gatland was disgusted with the recent comments of Irish loose forward Sean O'Brien who questioned his coaching methods and that of his staff.

The 54-year-old said despite the achievement of taking the All Blacks to the brink of a series loss, all that good work has been completely tarnished by the constant questioning of his ability.

Gatland said O'Brien's comments were disrespectful, not only to him but to the All Blacks.

"You watch how hard the coaches and the backroom staff worked - they worked their absolute bollocks off on that tour - and then to have someone come out and make a comment like that ... it really, really did hurt."

"I don't know what planet he's on but I was on a different tour to him if he thought we should have won comfortably," Gatland continued.

Seam O'Brien in action during the second Test in Wellington
Seam O'Brien in action during the second Test in Wellington Photo credit: Getty

"All the pressure is on the [Lions] head coach. I don't feel there is anything near the same pressure on players as there is on coaches".

"I was disappointed. I have to be honest -- it took a bit of the gloss off the Lions tour. If he wanted to say something then there is a different forum rather than being critical."

Gatland defended his "player empowerment" policy after O'Brien claimed Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell "drove everything" in the second test build-up.

Gatland tried to make contact with Irishman and received a text three weeks later in return.

The former Waikato coach said despite the beef with O'Brien's comments he has nothing but respect for him as a player.

"There's no doubt Sean O'Brien had a fantastic tour.

"He played exceptionally well. There's no doubt about his contribution on the playing field, he was excellent. In the changing room, as a voice, from a leadership point of view, he contributed extremely well.

"It's only fair to acknowledge that.

"He was outstanding in the way that he did play and contribute," Gatland said.

Gatland's future beyond 2019 is unclear with his contract due to expire with Wales at the conclusuon of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.


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