British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gartland as publicly announced he would not be interested in taking up the post again for the South Africa tour in 2021.
After leading the Lions to victory over Australia in 2013 and to a draw against World Champions the New Zealand All Blacks this summer the 54 year old Wales coach has decided enough is enough citing the abuse he suffered during this summer tour and the difficulty in putting a winning team together in such a short time.
Gartland’s statement of “I’m done, let someone else reinvent the wheel” was straight to the point, while he also went on to reveal who he had been hurt by the criticism he had received from members of his own camp following the tour, most notably from Irish Flanker Sean O’Brien who has gone on record stating he believed the lions would have won the series if they had better coaching, his thoughts were aimed at Gartland’s selection of his assistant coaching staff and how it was the players deciding on the game plans for the tests!
Gartland was also heavily criticised for his squad selection, favouring a number of his own Welsh players that underperformed in the 6 nations over the other home nations that all finished higher in the final championship table.
Despite the allocations of favouritism and poor coaching the Lions still went on to a drawn series with both teams winning a game apiece, whilst drawing the final decider, which to put into perspective the Lions have only won one series against the All Blacks on New Zealand soil in 100 years.
It was also the New Zealand Press that hammered Gartland, with the New Zealand Herald featuring one article of him has a red nosed clown!
For now, Gartland is committed to the Welsh National team until the 2019 world cup and although he has hinted at taking some time away from coaching but at 56 there is still plenty of opportunity for such an experienced coach to return.