Warren Gatland rules himself out of 2021 Lions tour

Warren Gatland coached the British and Irish Lions to a drawn Test series against New Zealand earlier this year
Warren Gatland coached the British and Irish Lions to a drawn Test series against New Zealand earlier this year

Wales boss Warren Gatland stated that he wouldn't subject himself of taking in charge of British and Irish Lions in the 2021 tour of South Africa.

The 54-year-old helped the Lions achieve a 1-1 draw against the All Blacks in a gruelling tour of New Zealand and also headed the coaching panel when the team won 2-1 in Australia in 2013.

The New Zealander was among the favourites to lead the team for the 2021 tour as well considering the success he had achieved with the team but Gatland has effectively ruled himself out of it and reasoned it to the criticism and hatred he received surrounding to the recently concluded tour.

At one stage of the punishing six-week trip, the New Zealand Herald newspaper published a cartoon depicting Gatland as a clown, complete with red nose.

"I'm done. 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."

Asked about potentially throwing his hat into the ring for South Africa, Gatland added: "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. Let someone else reinvent the wheel."

Gatland also responded back to the criticism from Ireland international Sean O'Brien, who insisted that the Lions could have won 3-0 with better coaching.

"It took a bit of the gloss off the tour," Gatland said. "It really, really did hurt."

"I texted to say he could call me at any time, but I've not heard back from him.

"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."