'As a Kiwi I was embarrassed': Gatland slams compatriots over treatment of Cheika and Australia
Warren Gatland was "embarrassed" to be a Kiwi when the New Zealand Herald mocked up Australia coach Michael Cheika as a clown.
New Zealand saw off Australia 37-10 at Auckland's Eden Park on October 22 to secure a record 18th consecutive Test victory.
The New Zealand Herald had depicted Australia boss Cheika as a clown in their sports pages on the morning of the match, with the Wallabies coach later branding the treatment "disrespectful".
British and Irish Lions head coach Gatland watched on as New Zealand's double world champions set yet another record in Auckland, but admitted being ashamed by the actions of some of his countrymen.
"To be honest with you, and I don't mind you printing this, I was at Eden Park watching the game a couple of weeks ago and as a Kiwi I was embarrassed," said Gatland, who was quick to stress none of his feelings were directed at the All Blacks themselves.
"There's the clown stuff in the Herald. One of the things I've been proud of as a Kiwi, I always thought we showed a lot of humility.
"As a Kiwi I was sitting in the stands watching the game and I was a little bit embarrassed.
"That's something as New Zealanders, in the past we've prided ourselves on that, tried to do that, and tried to be humble about the success of the rugby team.
"It was the first time, and this is just my opinion, that I found myself saying 'we're better than this'."
Gatland will lead the Lions to his homeland on the 2017 tour, and will name his backroom coaching staff on December 7.
The Wales boss revealed he was considering taking two specialist attack coaches on the 10-match tour, as kit manufacturer Canterbury launched the official Lions 2017 jersey.
Gatland praised the All Blacks' constant drive for improvement, despite Steve Hansen's men scaling previously unreachable Test arena heights.
Insisting the New Zealand set-up were not likely to cross the line between confidence and arrogance, Gatland said: "I don't think the All Blacks are doing that.
"There has been some history between Cheika and Hansen - that's come out on a few occasions.
"But anything that's come out of the squad and the team, they've tried to play things down and just talked about trying to improve as a squad.
"They've definitely taken the game to another level at the moment.
"I don't think the other southern-hemisphere teams are as strong as they have been at the moment.
"There's a proportion at the moment in New Zealand where it's arrogance and not humility.
"I still think you can be proud but show humility and show respect."
:: Untouchable until it's earnt. Canterbury's new British & Irish Lions Jersey is available to buy at www.canterbury.com
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.