Gatland up for another B&I Lions Tour
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Warren Gatland hinted on Sunday that he would be open to leading the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2021 just two weeks after ruling out another stint in charge.
Earlier this month the 54-year-old New Zealander - whose side drew 1-1 with the All Blacks in the three-Test series earlier this year - said the negativity and the personal nature of the attacks on him in the Kiwi media had worn him down.
"I'm done. I hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand," he said.
But the Wales coach has relaxed that stance and admitted he could be tempted to complete the set of tours, having also led the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013.
"It's a hard job to turn down and walk away from," Gatland said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.
"I made those comments about not wanting to do it again because I was pretty hurt. As far as me coaching the Lions again, never say never,"
Gatland also responded to Sean O'Brien's stinging attack on the coaching team in New Zealand.
The Ireland and Leinster flank took aim at the approach of the Lions set-up and felt the tourists should have whitewashed the world champions.
"My thing to Sean is, if he can look himself in the mirror and say, 'I was the most professional person on tour, on and off the field, in New Zealand', in terms of the way he prepared himself, then I think his points would be more valid," said Gatland.
"I was disappointed with his comments. I thought him coming out and saying we should have won 3-0 was pretty disrespectful to New Zealand. That's where he lost his credibility.
"He came out and he was critical but what was his solution? There was nothing. It was words without a solution. If you are going to come out and say something, give us what the answer is."