In Brief

Sean O’Brien blames Lions coaches for not beating the All Blacks

Flanker says British & Irish Lions could have won 3-0 against New Zealand

Sean O’Brien believes that if the coaching had been better the British & Irish Lions could have beaten New Zealand 3-0 in the summer series.

The Leinster and Ireland flanker, who played in all three Test matches against the All Blacks, said Warren Gatland and his Lions coaching team “made a number of mistakes”.

When asked by Off The Ball about the coaching set-up in New Zealand, O’Brien said: “To be honest with you I’d be pretty critical of it. I think we probably should have won the tour and we probably should have won it comfortably enough. 

“I think there’s a lot of learning to take from the tour in terms of the coaching set-up as well and from a player’s point of view in terms of how we dealt with things, but it’s a weird one I suppose, drawing a series.”

O’Brien said that over-training and a lack of structure contributed to Lions not winning the series. He also singled out backs coach Rob Howley for criticism.

Quoted by the Daily Mail, O’Brien added: “If I was being critical of any coach it would be the fact that I think Rob struggled with the group in terms of his attributes of trying to get stuff across, whereas Johnny [Sexton] and Owen [Farrell] drove everything the second week, for instance, in our attack and had a better plan in place. 

“The coaches have a lot to answer for in terms of our attack rather than Johnny and Faz trying to drive it.

“I think we should have won 3-0 with the players we had. Looking back, and I could be completely wrong, but if we had a little more structure during the weeks, and more of an attack game plan driven way earlier in the tour, I think we could win 3-0.”

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