Former Ireland Boss Says Gatland Is Sending The Wrong Message To His Players
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Former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan says Warren Gatland’s press conference outburst is a sign the pressure is getting to him.
Gatland fired back at his ‘Warrenball’ critics at yesterday’s Lions press conference ahead of tomorrow’s clash with the Blues. The phrase has been used for several years now and refers to Gatland’s apparent one dimensional tactical limitations.
O’Sullivan, who worked as a Lions assistant coach the last time they toured New Zealand back in 2005, says Gatland has ‘made a rod for his back’ after making it plain to see that he was visibly agitated by the reference.
“He has certainly made a rod for his back now,” O’Sullivan told BBC Radio Five Live.
“At the moment he is prickling at a lot of things, and it’s very early days for that, it’s a long tour.
“So I’m surprised a coach of his experience got sucked into the “Warrenball” debate. It has put pressure straight away on the team to put in a big performance against the Blues.
“It is just symptomatic I suppose of the pressure he is under.”
O’Sullivan says Gatland’s references to needing more preparation are a bad sign and that he needs to step back, get on with it and ‘cool his jets a little bit.’
“The references to needing more preparation time is almost telling the squad that they are in trouble,” O’Sullivan added.
“If he thinks they need more preparation time – which they can’t change – it is sending the wrong message to the squad.
“It’s something you might say at the end of the tour when you are reviewing it. It’s very hard to put that out on the first week on the tour.
“He probably needs to step back a bit and get on with it.
“If the New Zealanders feel they can go for him, they will go for him. This is off the back of being asked a fairly innocuous question at the first press conference, so I think he probably needs to just cool his jets a little bit.”