Sean O’Brien On The Huge Mistakes Gatland & His Team Made Before 1st & 3rd Lions Test
Sean O’Brien says the Warren Gatland and his Lions coaching team panicked ahead of the first Test against New Zealand this summer, resulting in a heavy training load that greatly affected the players.
Speaking to Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery on The Irish Independent’s Rugby Podcast, The Left Wing, O’Brien says they didn’t get the preparations right ahead of the first Test and last Test against the All Blacks.
“The more games you get, the better you get and sometimes the training load on tour can be quite light,” O’Brien said.
“But then you are fresher for games. I do think around the test games we didn’t get it quite right. I think the coaches might have panicked a bit the first week and done a little bit too much with us on a Thursday before the first test and the same going into the last test.”
While preparations were a little better for the final Test, with more time off, O’Brien reckons the schedule was all wrong.
“We had a couple of days off [the third test week] but we didn’t do enough at the start of the week and then we were chasing our tails a little bit.
“We had Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off and trained heavily Wednesday, trained Thursday again with a pitch session and then did the Captain’s run Friday but then lads were playing catch-up with info and legs were heavy.”
“I think it was just the schedule, I don’t think they got the right days off. Looking back now we probably should have had Sunday and Monday off and done a good, tough session on Tuesday. Then had Wednesday off again and had the Captain’s run on Thursday. Then you are fresh and ready to rock for a test game. The week leading into the first test we had a triple day for the forwards on the Thursday. We had units, then a weights session and then another pitch session in the afternoon.”
2017 wasn’t O’Brien’s first Lions tour, having featured in the series against Australia in 2013, and as a senior player he decided to voice his concern after the first Test.
“I said it after that game (1st Test), that this can’t happen for the rest of the tour,” O’Brien said.
“Lads were completely flogged. It wasn’t as bad for the third test it was just that from Wednesday to the game we were on our feet.”