With the new season already underway in the northern hemisphere, it’s hard to believe that the Lions Tour finished just two months ago – it feels a lot longer than that.
Of course, as you are well aware, the series ended in an unprecedented draw and led to some pretty strange scenes at the final whistle when both Sam Warburton and Kieran Read shared the trophy during the official presentation.
The series was deemed a success from a Lions perspective when you consider they defeated the All Blacks and denied them a series victory when everyone had diminished their chances before the tour began.
Many players stood out during that tour – Maro Itoje, Jonathan Davies, Sam Warburton and perhaps most of all, Sean O’Brien.
The ‘Tullow Tank’ was a constant thorn in an All Blacks side who often failed to deal with the Leinster man’s dynamism in the loose and powerful carrying ability. Unfortunately for O’Brien, he was removed from the field of play in the third Test after a powerful clear out from Jerome Kaino.
The powerful openside, speaking to Newstalk today, criticised some of the Lions coaching staff for the training schedule in the build-up to the first and third Tests against the All Blacks.
“To be honest, I’d be pretty critical of it because I think we should have won the tour and we probably should have won it comfortably,” he said.
“The first week, we definitely over-trained on the Thursday and maybe the coaches were panicking a little bit about getting the information into us.”
O’Brien reveals that something similar occurred in the build-up to the final Test and admitted that it perhaps would have been better if the Lions coaching staff adopted a ‘less is more’ strategy when it came to training.
“We did nearly a similar thing in the last week. So maybe it’s more [from] a coaching point of view, in terms of taking lessons. Less is more sometimes on a tour like that, rather than trying to pick things up at the end of the week.
“And probably from a players’ perspective, probably to be stronger and say ‘look, we don’t need that, we’re ready to rock. We just need to be short and sharp’.”
Of course, this is all in hindsight, but when you consider the difficult conditions which the Lions had to endure when it came to travelling, the tour schedule and the standard of opposition, they can be proud of their efforts in New Zealand during the summer.