Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Gatland reveals bitter Eddie O'Sullivan comment made in 2001 changing room

By Ian Cameron
Warren Gatland. Photo / Getty

Wales coach Warren Gatland has revealed on a visit to Dublin a comment attributed to Eddie O’Sullivan that he felt summed up their famously sour relationship.


Speaking on the Off the Ball Roadshow , Gatland recounted how former team manager Donal Lenihan had gone over to then assistant coach O’Sullivan, who was looking glum despite Ireland bagging a famous victory over the French in Paris.

Speaking on a panel that included Brian O’Driscoll and Keith Wood, Gatland told a packed audience: “Donal Lenihan said to me a number of years later, the day that Brian (O’Driscoll) scored the three tries and we beat France in Paris for the first time in 27 years… Donal said to me ‘I want to tell you a story about that day’. He said ‘I’ve never told you this’, and I said ‘oh, what’s that?’

“He said that we were in the changing rooms, and everyone was celebrating and having a good time, and Eddie was sitting in the corner. So Donal went over to him and said: ‘What’s wrong with you, why aren’t you celebrating?’

“And Eddie said to Donal: ‘This means Gatland’s going to be in the job for another two years.’

“When I got told that, when Donal told me that story, it kind of summed up a few things.”

Both Gatland and O’Sullivan are on record about how much they didn’t get on while working together for Ireland in the late 1990s and 2000s, until they parted ways when Gatland was removed from his post despite having won nine of eleven games while in charge.

In his 2009 autobiography, O’Sullivan said of Gatland at the time of his dismissal: “Warren, certainly, wasn’t slow to suggest that the reasons for his departure had little to do with rugby.


“Despite signing a confidentiality clause, he was subsequently quoted in an English tabloid as saying: ‘I just didn’t kiss the butts or massage the egos of the right committee guys.’”

O’Sullivan also went on to criticise Gatland’s coaching style.

“There was little sense of a coherent strategy. He’d come down in the morning with a few lines scribbled on a piece of paper and, in training, there was no such thing as time allocation.”

“Sessions that were meant to last an hour and a half drifted to two hours and beyond. He would lose the confidence of some key senior players in 2001. By the time we played the so-called ‘foot and mouth’ games that autumn, a few of them had had enough.”


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE Holistic Olympic ambitions for Team GB’s captain Emma Uren Holistic Olympic ambitions for Team GB’s captain Emma Uren