Sport

Gatland rules out third Lions stint

Gatland rules out third Lions stint”

But after becoming public enemy No1 in his own country on the tour, the Ireland flanker's claims that the tourists blew the series because of overtraining before the first Test and the poor quality of Rob Howley's attack coaching was the last straw for Gatland.

While the Lions' six-week, 10-match tour of New Zealand ended with a creditable drawn series, the Lions have only won once there in 100 years, a feature of the series was the level of abuse directed towards Gatland.

He told The Telegraph that O'Brien's comments had taken the gloss off the tour.

Gatland, who among other slights had a clown's red nose super-imposed on his face in a newspaper photograph, was clear when asked would he consider coaching them for a third time on the 2021 tour of South Africa. He spoke about how...

"Did we learn as coaches from that experience?" It's only fair to acknowledge that, but it was disappointing he highlighted one person [Howley]. "Those comments were disrespectful to New Zealand". They are the guys playing the game on the field.

"What I've learned from my Lions' experiences is how hard 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".

Asked about O'Brien's remarks on Howley, Gatland said: "He (O'Brien) spoke about Johnny (Sexton) and Owen (Farrell) taking responsibility (for the Lions' attacking game), which is odd because as a coach that is what you want". I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand. The pressures of managing players from four different unions in your homeland were always going to be huge but for anyone stepping into his shoes it's a tough ask, particularly given the hectic nature of the domestic game today.

The Kiwi's decision to count himself out of the 2021 tour after what was widely viewed as a great result against the all-conquering All Blacks leaves England's Eddie Jones as favourite for the position.

However, Gatland said there was "something magical about the Lions" and hopes the game's senior figures will help to preserve that magic - primarily by giving coaches more time to prepare a squad. "You get second-hand people coming in and making comments as well".

The not so green green grass of home for Lions coach Warren Gatland. "When I look back at it now, there were lots of things that were satisfying and it was an achievement, but it was tough".

"What I've learned from my Lions experiences is how hard it is to put some continuity together in terms of people and staff, and the lack of preparation time". "The last seven have all been about preparation", he said.

"For the people involved and the future of the Lions, people should be doing as much as possible to protect that". I'm done [with the Lions]. What drives rugby globally is the global game. "The balance has to be right".



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