“I don’t know what planet he is on saying that,” said Gatland, who previously had not ruled out a shot at coaching the Lions in South Africa in 2021. “Those comments were disrespectful to New Zealand. I hated the tour. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand. I’m done [with the Lions]. When I look back on it now, there were a lot of things that were satisfying and what an achievement it was, but it was tough work.
“You watch how hard the coaches and the backroom staff worked – they worked their absolute nuts off – and then to have someone [O’Brien] come out and make a comment like that … it really, really did hurt. I wouldn’t subject myself to that again. It took the gloss off the tour.”