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Lions coach hits back at Sean O’Briens comments

Graham Rowntree says the relationship between coaches and players on the Lions’ summer tour of New Zealand was as strong as he has ever experienced.

Though the Lions secured an impressive series draw with the world champions, flanker Sean O’Brien said the tourists could have been better prepared.

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Rowntree, who was part of the Lions coaching team for a third time, says he is “very proud” of what was achieved.

“We had an outstanding relationship with the players,” he said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, he added: “It was better than any other Lions tour I have been on.

“We were there as coaches to facilitate the sessions, but ultimately [the players] will run the show.

“It was an unbelievable experience; probably the toughest challenge you can get as a coach, in that environment,” Rowntree added.

“We went down there to try and win the series and we had a group capable of winning the series. To draw it, especially after what happened in the first Test, I was proud.”

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