Former Lions coach Warren Gatland is to seek a meeting with Sean O’Brien regarding the player’s criticism of the coaching setup.
According to multiple reports, Gatland and his coaching staff (including Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell) are said to be disappointed to the point of angry with the Ireland flanker’s comments, and he is almost certain to speak to O’Brien on the matter in the very near future.
The Leinster man was particularly critical of attacking coach Rob Howley in his assessment of the tour on Newstalk earlier this week, arguing that the Lions would have won the series had they prepared a bit better and not been over worked ahead of the first test against the All Blacks, saying:
“Coaching-wise they need to make sure they have the best coaches. If I was being critical of any coach it would be that Rob struggled… in terms of his attributes of trying to get stuff across. Johnny [Sexton] and Faz [Owen Farrell] were running our attack shape… and had a better plan in place.”
O’Brien then tried to clarify his position in a Twitter post on Thursday evening:
— Sean O’ Brien (@SeanOBrien1987) September 21, 2017
In particular, Farrell and his staff are said to be annoyed that O’Brien didn’t voice any of these concerns on the tour itself rather than wait until after the fact.
Lions chief executive John Feehan, meanwhile, has been defending the coaching staff for leading the Lions to an unprecedented drawn series against the All Blacks earlier this summer:
“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 and the coaches deserve huge credit for that.
“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.”
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