Warren Gatland is a controversial figure amidst the rugby world. His infamous 'Warrenball', clashes with the New Zealand press and the post-Lions Sean O'Brien back-and-forth have all been recent talking points. One thing that can be said for him though, he's value for money in his press conferences.
Wales take on New Zealand this week in the final test of the Autumn Internationals. Gatland made clear in his press game press conference he has not forgotten his treatment by the New Zealand press this summer. Robert Kitson in the Guardian reported that Gatland said
If there is [media] criticism of me this week I won’t be responding because you cannot win. At some stage I will be dressed up as a clown again; I will just take it on the chin and move on. That is the way it is and the way it has gone. It was tough [on the Lions tour] and I said so but Kiwis understand when you back someone into a corner they come out fighting. There was no way I was going to allow something to get the better of me and I got mentally tougher.
Gatland hinted that he would hold onto his grievances for some time.
I felt like I was in a boxing match and was going to come out on top. No one was going to split the squad but there was some pretty underhand stuff going on. There are one or two people I would like to get into a corner of a room on their own with me but that might wait for another day.
Gatland's clashes with the New Zealand press escalated during last summer's Lions tour, most notably when the New Zealand Herald protrayed Gatland as a clown in a cartoon in their paper. This was the second time in a six-month spell that outlet mocked him. As a whole local press seemed to extract extraordinary enjoyment out of the Lions losses to the Blues and Highlanders.
At the time Gatland dealt with it admirably, dismissing it as a swear-campaign and even entering his post third test press conference wearing a clown's nose.
New Zealand's recent form has been patchy by their lofty standards. They entered the November tests on the back of a loss to Australia last October and scrapped five point wins over France and Scotland in the last two weeks. In a rugby sense they are still a much better outfit than Wales and favourites to overcome Gatland's outfit at the Principality Stadium.
Away from the field though there is no doubt the treatment of Gatland by the All-Blacks press has been questionable. Whatever the outcome on Saturday, his post-match press conference should be worth a watch.
You can read the Guardian article here.