Former All Black and coach of the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand earlier this year Warren Gatland has had a rethink about his comment that he would not coach the Lions again.
Gatland told The Mail On Sunday ahead of the launch of his diary on the tour, "Yeah, it's a hard job to walk away from. As far as me coaching the Lions again, never say never."
The Lions are next due to tour in 2021 to South Africa.
Gatland made his comment about not coaching in the wake of criticism by flanker Sean O'Brien who felt the side had been over-coached at crucial stages of the tour and who said the Lions should have beaten the All Blacks 3-0.
This was in spite of the Lions only having led the All Blacks for three minutes during the drawn series.
It was several weeks before O'Brien contacted Gatland after the coach tried to call him following O'Brien's comments. They had a frank discussion, Gatland said.
While he named O'Brien as his player of the tour in the book, he was less complimentary in the wake of his comments.
"My thing to Sean is, if he can look himself in the mirror and say 'I was the most professional person on tour, on and off the field, in New Zealand', in terms of the way he prepared himself then I think his points would be more valid.
"I was disappointed with his comments. I thought him coming out and saying we should have won 3-0 was pretty disrespectful to New Zealand. That's where he lost his credibility.
"He came out and he was critical but what was his solution?
"There was nothing. It was words without a solution. If you are going to come out and say something, give us what the answer is," Gatland said.
During their discussion, Gatland mentioned to O'Brien that he had come to them injured at the start of the tour, on the back of a history of injury issues.
"I reminded him that in his interview he said he was in the best shape of his life during the Tests so we must have done something right surely. And he said: 'I never thought of that'.
"My experience of a Lions tour is that there is no pressure on the players. You go out there and fail as a player and you have got the luxury of sauntering back to your club or your national team or whatever.
"But if you fail as part of a coaching set-up, the finger is pointed at you. That is what makes it so challenging and so tough.
"As far as me coaching the Lions again, never say never. There is a lot of water under the bridge. The way I was feeling when I said what I said. The biggest thing for me is that other players have been positive in their comments. There are a lot of people who disagree with what Sean said," he said.