'My opinion hasn't changed' - Sean O'Brien resparks war of words with Warren Gatland | Ruck

‘My opinion hasn’t changed’ – Sean O’Brien resparks war of words with Warren Gatland

Lions flanker Sean O’Brien has resparked his war of words with Warren Gatland, inisting the tourists could have beaten the All Blacks 3-0 in 2017.

“I know it caused controversy at the time but my opinion hasn’t changed, we could have won that series 3-0,” says O’Brien.

“When you look at the players we had – there was so much world-class talent in the squad, enough to have won all the Tests.

“I know all about the history, how the Lions have only won seven Tests or something like that in New Zealand over the years.

But look at what has happened to New Zealand since 2017. They’re still a brilliant team. But we (Ireland) beat them in 2018; South Africa beat them down there in 2018, Argentina had their win last year, England destroyed them in the (2019) World Cup.

“Think about it. The Lions not only had the best of England but also Ireland, Scotland and Wales. That’s where I was coming from; we had the players to do it. I didn’t intend to insult or undermine anyone by saying that.

“I certainly don’t want to do that this time because Warren’s a good coach, the right man to lead this tour. But do I still think we could have won 3-0? Yeah, I do.”

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The two didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye during the 2017 tour of New Zealand with Marler himself admitting his ‘bulls*** behaviour’ put him out of contention for the 2021 installment.

“I don’t think I ever got close enough to blow smoke up his a***,” laughed Marler.

“I found him quite an awkward character, which says a lot really because I tend to surround myself with awkward characters!

He added: “To be fair, Gats has been on God knows how many Lions tours, won God knows how many trophies.

“Before the Lions, my first contact with him was him dropping me a message of support after Gypsy-Gate.

“It had all blown up and he said: ‘Don’t worry about it, keep your head down’ out of the blue.

“I’m sure he’s a good bloke and he’s got a good heart. It’s just a couple of my experiences of him were interesting to say the least. I don’t think he liked me and that’s probably fair.”

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