Rugby Union

Gatland in the New Zealand tour.

Warren Gatland sends mixed messages to rugby fans regarding B&I Lions

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Warren Gatland has hinted he would consider leading the British and Irish Lions in his third tour.

Gatland, 54, two weeks ago stated that he "hated" the tour in New Zealand, all-but confirming his departure from the role.

The Wales coach steered the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013, and again in the drawn series in New Zealand this summer.

But, the 54-year-old Kiwi, also Wales head coach, declared in October that he "wouldn't subject himself" to taking charge of the trip to South Africa in 2021.

In the tour of New Zealand, Gatland was subjected to negativity and abuse from the Kiwi crowd.

Gatland also cited limited preparation time for the tour.

He was asked if he would reconsider in an interview with Sky Sports this week, and he said: "At the time when I reflected, there was some gloss taken off the experience of the Lions and potentially there was a chance for someone else to take over the mantel in three or four years.

"But, you reflect back on things and after 2019 when Wales have won the World Cup, if someone said to me 'would you consider your position?' then you might think about that."

Gatland's Lions recovered from losing the opening Test this summer to topple the All Blacks a week later in Wellington.

New Zealand v British & Irish Lions

The decider at Eden Park ended 15-15, and it was the Lions’ only drawn series in New Zealand.

It was the Lions' second-most successful New Zealand mission in history, having only won once there in 100 years.

Immediately after the cluttered six-week, 10-match tour, Gatland revealed he "hated the press and negativity" surrounding the experience.

This included the New Zealand Herald newspaper featuring a cartoon of him as a red-nosed clown.

New Zealand v British & Irish Lions - Third Test

His coaching team also came under fire from inside the camp, notably from Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien.

"To be honest with you I'd be pretty critical of it," he said. "I think we probably should have won the tour and we probably should have won it comfortably enough.

"I think there's a lot of learnings to take from the tour in terms of the coaching set-up as well and from a player's point of view in terms how we dealt with things.

"Not to be negative about it, it was a great tour but with the squad we had, we probably should have beat them."

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Topics:
Wales Rugby
England Rugby
British & Irish Lions
New Zeland Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Rugby Union

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