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Warren Gatland Performs U-Turn On Coaching Lions In The Future

Rugby AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 08: Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach looks on during the Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Eden Park on July 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

About two weeks ago, Warren Gatland stated that he had no interest in coaching the Lions tour again because it was an experience which he didn’t enjoy due to the media scrutiny and criticism from his own players, like Sean O’Brien.

However, in the two weeks that have passed, Gatland seems to have had a change of heart and the time to further mull things over in his head have led him to believe that he would never say never to taking on the head coaching role for a third consecutive time. 

“As far as me coaching the Lions again, never say never. There is a lot of water under the bridge,” Gatland told Sportsmail

Gatland believes that the difference in pressure experienced by players and coaches is stark and that is what ultimately makes the Lions tour such an incredible challenge. 

“My experience of a Lions tour is that there is no pressure on the players.

“You go out there and fail as a player and you have got the luxury of sauntering back to your club or your national team or whatever.

“But if you fail as part of a coaching set-up, the finger is pointed at you. That is what makes it so challenging and so tough. Yeah, it’s exciting.”

it seems that Gatland has received positive comments from the players in recent weeks which has contributed to changing his mind about taking on the role again. 

“As far as me coaching the Lions again, never say never. There is a lot of water under the bridge. The way I was feeling when I said what I said.

“The biggest thing for me is that other players have been positive in their comments. There are a lot of people who disagree with what Sean said.”

Of course, it will be interesting to see what Gatland’s ambitions are when 2021 comes around – the Kiwi is finishing with Wales after the World Cup in 2019 and wherever he ends up could play a part in whether he would coach the Lions again.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter