This issue won’t be going away anytime soon. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware of the comments Sean O’Brien made to the media this week regarding his opinion on this year’s Lions tour to the New Zealand.
O’Brien revealed that he felt the Lions should have won the series 3-0 and in the meantime, criticised the coaching which took place on tour. This was in reference to ‘overloading’ the players in the weeks building up to the first and third Tests.
He also called out Rob Howley and complained how he struggled to get his messages across which resulted in Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell leading the attacking sessions in the build up to the successful second Test.
Seeing players speaking so honestly and frankly, especially when it comes to the opinion of their coaches, is not only refreshing but quite rare, hence the reaction.
This whole ‘controversy’ would have eventually run its course but it seems that the Lions have added fuel to the fire with the release of a statement in direct response to O’Brien’s comments.
Lions Chief Executive, John Feehan, has released a statement this evening, via Sky Sports, where he reiterates the achievement of drawing the series against the All Blacks, including the second Test victory.
“I said all along that I think we had the best coaching team available and I think they proved that in what we achieved in New Zealand.
“To draw a series with the All Blacks, who had not lost a Test match at home for eight years was a remarkable result, and Warren (Gatland, head coach) and the coaches deserve huge credit for that.”
Feehan then comments on O’Brien’s opinion but again, makes the point that this was a hugely historic result.
“People will always have their views on what could have been done better but the fact is that, against all the odds and with limited preparation time, this squad became only the second Lions team in history to either win or draw a series in New Zealand in 13 attempts.
“That achievement cannot be underestimated.”
Expect this to dominate the headlines over the coming weeks.