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Watch: Warren Gatland Has Responded To Sean O'Brien's Criticism Of Lions Coaching Staff

Watch: Warren Gatland Has Responded To Sean O'Brien's Criticism Of Lions Coaching Staff

Warren Gatland has responded to Sean O'Brien's criticism of the Lions coaching structures during their drawn series against New Zealand last summer.

While the forward was one of the players of the tour, O'Brien criticised the side's preparation in the lead up to the first test, when they had a triple training session on the Thursday before the first test as the Lions were humbled in a 30-15 defeat to the All Blacks.

O'Brien singled out backs' coach Rob Howley for stinging criticism last month claiming that Johnny Sexton and England's Owen Farrell were the ones coordinating their attacking shape.

Gatland was speaking to Sky Sports News this afternoon about the issues brought to light by the flanker:

I left a message with Sean, he text me last week saying he'd just cleared his voicemail and I text him back saying he was more than welcome to give me a call at any stage.

Let's be clear here. He had a fantastic tour, was brilliant in the way he played and says he was in the best shape of his life.

But he didn't train with us in the first week and had one session with us in the second week on tour because he was recovering from injury.

So for him to be in the best shape of his life we must have done something right!

The Welsh head coached rebuked suggestions that his backs coach Rob Howley was a negative for the squad during the tour:

In terms of the attack stuff I look at that as a compliment.

When you have experienced players in the squad part of good coaching is allowing them to take ownership and responsibility.

In a roundabout way he's given Rob Howley a compliment.

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Although the criticism hurt the head coach, he would like the tour to be seen as a positive since the Lions drew a series with the back-to-back World Cup champions, and that they were the first test side to beat the All Blacks on home soil since South Africa beat them in 2009.

Gatland will leave his position as Wales head coach upon completion of the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

Watch Warren Gatland's response to Sean O'Brien below:

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James Carroll

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