WARREN GATLAND will never coach the Lions again – because he hated the tour to New Zealand.
The Wales boss was humiliated in his homeland, attacked by the media and lampooned as a clown.
Gat had the last laugh on his fellow Kiwis by drawing the series and winning a Test against the All Blacks for the first time since 1971.
But after two tours as boss and winning the 2013 series in Australia, the 53-year-old has had enough of the abuse from home and abroad.
Gatland said: “I’m done. I hated the tour. Let someone else re-invent the wheel.
“I hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand.
“When I look back on it there were a lot of things that were satisfying and what an achievement it was. But it was tough work. It was hard.”
The Lions are due to tour South Africa in 2021. But Gatland, whose Wales deal runs out after the 2019 World Cup, insisted:
“I wouldn’t subject myself to that, let someone else do it.
“What I’ve learned from my Lions experiences is how difficult it is to put some continuity together in terms of people and staff and the lack of preparation time.”
The attacks did not stop after the Lions came home having won the Second Test and drawn the Third to tie the series. Even Gatland’s own players joined in.
Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien said they would have won the series 3-0 with better coaching and tore into Gatland’s assistant Rob Howley for failing to get his ideas across.
Gatland rapped: “I don’t know what planet he’s on.
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“I rang Sean and left a message to say I was disappointed. He texted me three weeks later to say that he’s been taken out context.
“I texted to say he could call me at any time — I’ve not heard back from him.
“The coaches and backroom staff worked their absolute b****cks off on that tour and then to have someone make a comment like that … it really, really did hurt.
“I was on a different tour to him if he thought we should have won comfortably.
“Would we have done some things differently? Of course. That’s part of coaching, part of the experience.”
England No 8 Billy Vunipola also claimed Red Rose boss Eddie Jones would have whitewashed the All Blacks.
Vunipola pulled out of the tour with a shoulder injury and Gatland admitted: “I’ve never had any involvement with Billy – that’s the disappointing thing.
“You get second-hand people making comments. With the Lions, all the pressure is on the head coach.
“As a player if you fail with the Lions you’ve got the security of going back to your club, going back to your nation.
“I don’t feel there is anything near the same pressure on players as there is on coaches.”
Gatland goes back to his ‘day job’ with Wales next month, kicking off their World Cup build-up with Tests against Australia, Georgia, the All Blacks and South Africa.
And he hopes scrum-half Rhys Webb will reverse his decision to join Toulon – rather than kiss goodbye to his World Cup dream.
Wales are bringing in a 60-cap eligibility rule for internationals moving to clubs outside the Pro14.
Lions star Webb has 28 caps while his Wales half-back partner Dan Biggar – who joins Northampton next season – needs just four more this season to reach 60.
Gatland said: “Rhys can still get out of his Toulon contract. He has just signed a letter of agreement, not a full contract.
“Market forces are going to dictate what a player does.
“I had a good conversation with Rhys. He is 28, has had injuries, he is thinking about his future and his family.
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“But we want to keep our best players in Wales.”
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