By Gavin Mairs

Warren Gatland is to seek a meeting with Sean O'Brien in an attempt to clarify the reasons behind fierce criticism by the Ireland flanker of the British and Irish Lions' coaching team during the drawn series with the All Blacks.

Gatland, the Lions head coach, is thought to have been both surprised and disappointed by the comments from O'Brien, who claimed the Lions should have won the series 3-0 had it not been for the coaching methods on the tour.

Rob Howley, the Lions backs coach, came in for personal criticism by O'Brien, who claimed Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell were left to run the attack for the second test and also the training workloads.


There is a sense of frustration that O'Brien, as a member of the senior players' group, did not raise any of these issues during the tour while claims that the coaching team "panicked" before the first test by staging a triple training session on the Thursday of that week is also thought to be strongly disputed.

O'Brien's criticism was followed on Friday by Billy Vunipola's own barb at Gatland - with the loose forward insisting the Lions would have swept the All Blacks if Eddie Jones was in charge of the side.

Vunipola told BBC radio show Radio Four Today that Jones, the current England coach, would have done a better job than Gatland.

"I wasn't there on tour but I guess if he [O'Brien] is saying it and the authority he said it with, he's probably right," Vunipola said.

"For me to sit here and say the Lions would have probably won is wrong. But personally, my opinion is that if Eddie Jones went as coach they would have won 3-0. He is that good."

Since Jones took over as England coach the side have lost just one of their 20 tests. They haven't however faced the All Blacks - a team they have beaten just once in their last 15 tests.

Meanwhile, O'Brien on Friday issued a statement on Twitter to "clarify" his earlier comments.