Sunday 16 December 2018

O'Brien stands by 'honest opinion' of Lions

Sean O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

Sean O'Brien has responded to Warren Gatland's claims that he had been hurt by the Irish player's comments about the Lions coaching staff on last summer's tour of New Zealand.

"Hurt? I don't want to hurt. I said what I said and gave an honest opinion of what I thought," O'Brien said at the One Zero conference at Croke Park.

"I spoke to all the coaches about what I said because it could have been improved but it's done for me now. It's put to bed."

O'Brien added: "There was an awful amount of positives from the tour. I really enjoyed it - it was great craic.

"I know how difficult it is for coaches to get it right, but I just felt that something needed to be said to improve the system going forward.

"The context in which it was portrayed wasn't the way I gave an account of it."

The 30-year-old took to Twitter to clarify his comments and said that he had nothing but respect for Gatland.

"There was a lot of people sending various tweets and nasty messages so I just wanted to clear the air," explained the flanker known as the 'Tullow Tank'.

"It's probably a distraction for you in terms of what we do every day. We go out and we beat each other up and put our bodies on the line and then, when you give out about something, or think it can be improved, everyone starts attacking you over it.

"If I'm big enough to say something and back it up, I'm going to take a bit of stick but hopefully when the dust settles things will be improved."

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