©INPHO/Andrew Paton Happier times? Gatland and Wood during Ireland training in 2000.
Keith Wood’s a Mé Féiner, he let himself down with Lions criticism — Gatland
The Wales and Lions coach says he will be on the Late Late Show tomorrow to talk about all things BOD.

LIONS COACH WARREN Gatland responded with scathing criticism of his former Ireland captain Keith Wood today.

The Kiwi coach of Wales was the subject of Wood’s ire in July after Brian O’Driscoll was dropped from the Lions team for the deciding third Test against Australia.

Wood called Gatland’s game-plan intransigent and added that the Wales coach was going against the Lions ethos by not attempting to blend four styles from four nations.

“The mandate I was given was to do whatever it takes to win a Lions series,” Gatland said in a live Q&A session with WalesOnline today before responding in kind to what he called ‘personal’ criticism from Wood who he coached in his time with Ireland.

‘Mé Féiner’, that sums him up

“With regard to Keith Wood, who I think has let himself down basically, that’s for him to have to deal with. Some of the things that he said, rather than respecting a coach’s decision, he’s probably gone and made it a little bit personal and that reflects on him as a person.

“The Irish have a saying, ‘he’s a bit of a Mé Féiner’, and that sums him up.”

The subject came up as Gatland was asked whether he expected a Christmas Card from either O’Driscoll or Wood and the Kiwi revealed he had already received one from the centre when the Lions reunited at 10 Downing Street last month.

Gatland went on to say that he has since questioned his decision to drop the four-time Lions, yet added that he would have selected both Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in tandem for the opening Test if both Welsh centres had been fit.

“Obviously [O'Driscoll] was disappointed with the decision we made, but we felt collectively as a coaching team it was the right decision. It doesn’t mean you bask in the glory or feel vindicated because it was such a tough call to make on someone who is regarded as a legend in the game in the northern hemisphere.

“I gave him his first cap as a 19-year-old, so to be the first person to drop him felt quite ironic really, but it doesn’t mean that as a coach you don’t still go back and question the selection and still ask yourself was it the right decision. We felt at the time that if Jamie and Jon had been fit for the first Test that probably would have been the combination we went for.”

Irish rugby enemy number one during the summer, Gatland also revealed that he will have to sample any remaining ill will towards him tomorrow when he arrives in Dublin for an appearance on the Late Late Show.

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