Monday, October 15

British and Irish Lions

 

Warren Gatland not interested in next British and Irish Lions tour

Warren Gatland insists that he will not be taking charge of the British and Irish Lions in 2021 and will "let someone else reinvent the wheel".

Warren Gatland has ruled himself out of contention to take charge of the British and Irish Lions in 2021.

The Wales coach led the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013, and to a draw in New Zealand this summer.

However, Gatland insists that he will not take charge for the next tour to South Africa, citing the abuse he suffered at the hands of the media and the difficulty in putting together a winning team in a short amount of time.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, the 54-year-old said: "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 also hit out at Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien for his criticism of the coaching standards in the Test series with the All Blacks.

"It took a bit of the gloss off the tour," the coach said. "It really, really did hurt.

"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.

"There is no doubt Sean O'Brien had a fantastic tour. He played exceptionally well... in the changing room, as a voice, from a leadership point of view, he contributed extremely well. It's only fair to acknowledge that."

Gatland's Lions recovered from losing the opening Test to topple the All Blacks a week later in Wellington, before the Eden Park decider ended 15-15.

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