Warren Gatland says he's finished with the Lions. The New Zealander led the Lions to a series draw against the All Blacks during the summer. It was his second tour as coach of the team and his third tour overall.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Gatland, quoted by ESPN Scrum, said that he 'hated' this year's trip to his native land. He also added that he feels there is a lot more pressure on the Lions head coach than there is on the players.
I'm done. I hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand. When I look back on it now there were a lot of things that were satisfying and what an achievement it was but it was tough work. It was hard.
You watch how hard the coaches and the backroom staff worked - they worked their absolute bollocks off on that tour - and then to have someone come out and make a comment like that... it really, really did hurt.
The 'someone' who Gatland referenced was Sean O'Brien. Last month, the Leinster back row was highly critical of the Lions coaching team - Rob Howley in particular. O'Brien felt that it had been Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton running the show from an attacking point of view, rather than Howley.
Neither was O'Brien content with the draw. He thought the Lions could have won the series 3-0. Gatland thinks O'Brien's expectations were unrealistic.
The quality on this tour was relentless and I thought Sean’s comments that we should have won the series 3-0 were disrespectful to New Zealand.
I don’t know what planet he’s on but I was on a different tour to him if he thought we should have won comfortably.
Gatland says that he rang O'Brien, leaving a voicemail. Three weeks later, O'Brien responded.
"He texted me three weeks later to say that he had just cleared his voicemail. And that he had been taken out context, or some things. I texted to say he could call me at any time but I've not heard back from him."