Rory Best comes in support of Rob Howley after Sean O'Brien's criticism

Rory Best feels Sean O'Brien was wrong to single out Rob Howley
Rory Best feels Sean O'Brien was wrong to single out Rob Howley

Ireland skipper Rory Best has played down criticism from his team-mate Sean O'Brien on Rob Howley's coaching methods in the recently concluded British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Both Best and O'Brien were part of the Lions squad that managed to draw the series 1-1 against Steve Hansen's men with the latter pointing inefficient coaching as the reason behind them not emerging victorious.

The Ireland flanker singled out Wales attack coach Howley for not communicating with the squad well and as a result, Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell decided to take in charge of the Lions' back division plan.

The 30-year-old also slammed the intensity at which the players were trained before the game which took a toll on them but Best insisted that it was tough on Howley to be singled out.

“They’re his feelings but I don’t think he should have singled out one coach," said Best, who twice skippered the tourists in New Zealand but never played in the Tests.

"He didn’t single out anyone else one way or the other.

"“From a forward’s point of view, I have a massive amount of respect for Steve Borthwick. What he did, the way he coaches, the way he prepares.

“Sometimes we just look at the negatives. Sean expressed an opinion. I have no doubt, that if that’s how he felt, that wasn’t the first time he’d said it.

“He’ll have said that to the coaches as well.

"Seanie is a very passionate character. If he thinks something, he’ll get it out ther.

“It’s refreshing. After the first Test, he felt like he was in the position he said he was.

"Tired and over-trained. It’s hard for me to comment on that. I didn’t play in that game. I wasn’t playing so I don’t know where I was in terms of fitness."

Best also disagreed with O'Brien's views that the Lions could have won 3-0 against the back to back World Champions, who also occupy the top position in the rankings.

“I would never disrespect New Zealand and say it should have been 3-0 but you look at the players that we brought and, with maybe more preparation or whatever, there was an opportunity," he added.

“I’m not jumping on the bandwagon, like some players that didn’t even go on the tour, and say it should have been 3-0 but that was an unbelievable squad of players.

"When you look at what New Zealand have done since, to say it should be 3-0 is a massive statement.”