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I'm done - Gatland quits British and Irish Lions

Omnisport logoOmnisport 17/10/2017 Sacha Pisani
WarrenGatland-cropped: Warren Gatland coached the British and Irish Lions against the All Blacks © Provided by Omnisport Warren Gatland coached the British and Irish Lions against the All Blacks

Warren Gatland will not coach the British and Irish Lions against the Springboks in 2021, insisting he "will not subject himself" to touring South Africa after hating the New Zealand series.

The Lions almost inflicted a series defeat on the All Black after splitting the three-game matchup 1-1 with the world champions in New Zealand in July.

Gatland oversaw a memorable second-Test victory for the Lions, who ended New Zealand's 47-game winning streak at home.

However, New Zealander Gatland was criticised in his homeland and by his own Lions players – namely flanker Sean O'Brien – leading to his exit.

"I'm done. Let someone else reinvent the wheel," said the 54-year-old, who guided the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013. "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."

Related: Gatland: New policy more black and white (Sky Sports)

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Gatland continued: "I wouldn't subject myself to that. What I've learned from my Lions experiences is how difficult it is to put some continuity together in terms of people and staff, and the lack of preparation time. Let someone else do it."

Ireland international O'Brien was critical of Gatland following the tour, claiming the Lions were overworked by the Kiwi boss, while also suggesting the visitors had the talent to win the series 3-0.

"It took a bit of the gloss off the tour," Gatland – who contacted O'Brien following the criticism – added. "It really, really did hurt.

"You take 41 players on tour and you are not going to keep everyone happy. There are going to be players disappointed, feeling they haven't had a chance or an opportunity. I understand that. That's the nature of professional sport.

"There is no doubt Sean O'Brien had a fantastic tour. He played exceptionally well. There is no doubt about his contribution on the playing field. He was excellent.

"In the changing room, as a voice, from a leadership point of view, he contributed extremely well. It's only fair to acknowledge that."

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