Saturday 17 March 2018

Sean O'Brien explains why Warren Gatland was to blame for Lions' failure to win series in New Zealand

Sean O'Brien felt the Lions were 'over-trained' going into the first and third Tests
Sean O'Brien felt the Lions were 'over-trained' going into the first and third Tests Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien has claimed that mis-management cost the Lions a series victory in New Zealand over the summer.

The Tullow Tank featured in all three Tests including the victory in the second Test in Wellington but claims that the preparations for both Eden Park Tests were flawed.

He said that he and his teammates were 'over-trained' in the lead-up to the 30-15 first test defeat and the controversial 15-15 draw a fortnight later.

“To be honest, I’d be pretty critical of it because I think we should have won the tour and we probably should have won it comfortably,” O’Brien said, in an interview with Off The Ball on Newstalk. “There’s the best players in the world on a Lions tour. I know you are playing the best team in the world but with the quality and strength in depth we had, we probably should have won the tour. It wasn’t down to fatigue. It was probably management a bit, in terms of how our weeks went.

“The first week, we definitely over-trained on the Thursday and maybe the coaches were panicking a little bit about getting the information into us. On the first week [of the first Test], we had a triple [session] day, [the] lads’ legs were heavy on the Thursday and we were playing the All Blacks on Saturday.

“We did nearly a similar thing in the last week. So maybe it’s more [from] a coaching point of view, in terms of taking lessons. Less is more sometimes on a tour like that, rather than trying to pick things up at the end of the week.

“There was probably no need for that but it’s just the way it was managed. We had said it, at the time, and they pulled back a bit. But it’s just about getting that fine balance between players and coaches and making sure the group is ready to rock.”

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