Lions coach Warren Gatland has stated he took very little pleasure from the historic victory over the Australian national side because of the vicious criticism aimed at him for dropping Ireland’s legendary Brian O’Driscoll.
“I haven’t taken a lot of pleasure out of tonight in terms of feeling vindicated,” he said after Saturday night’s victory.
“I haven’t enjoyed the last 72 hours, it’s been tough personally. Maybe in a week or two I might get some pleasure out of tonight, but at the moment there isn’t a lot of pleasure in terms of feeling vindicated with the amount of criticism that had been personally placed on me. That’s why you’re in the job, to make those tough calls. Every now and again one of them comes through and you get it right.
“I’ve always stuck by my guns by saying sometimes you have to make tough calls. In Wales a couple of years ago I made a tough call dropping Martyn Williams for Sam Warburton. Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line.”
He said he told his team at half time they had to give it absolutely everything.
“We spoke about being prepared to go to a place that not many players go to in terms of pushing your body to the limit. The players did that by running themselves into the ground.
“The bench were fantastic, they gave us impetus. Alun-Wyn (Jones- Lions captain) spoke about how important they the bench was going to be beforehand. We knew how important the emotion Australia brought last week was. The question we asked was can they bring that emotion level again. We reckoned there was another level in us emotionally and we were able to produce that tonight.
“I think we’ve played some great rugby on this tour in the lead-up games. The first Test was two tries each and it was tight last weekend. We were able to put it together tonight, especially in the second half. We came out with the attitude that we wanted to play some rugby and move the ball. We scored a lot of points. Four tries was a vindication of how well we’ve played overall on this tour.”
"The scrum was brilliant. I thought Alex Corbisiero was man of the match, around the field he was sensational and justified why we picked him.
“We said all along that he was unlucky with the original selection. He did a good job and I was really pleased with the impact and impetus the bench gave us.”