Belfast Telegraph

I'm a pretty happy clown, jokes Lions coach Warren Gatland

By Gareth Hanna

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland gave a wry smile in his post-match interview as he says he is a 'pretty happy clown'.

Gatland had just watched his Lions come back from 18-9 behind with 20 minutes left to win 21-24.

And he was quick to fire the New Zealand media's mockery back in their faces. During the week, he was portrayed as a clown in a cartoon in the New Zealand Herald.

Speaking to Sky Sports shortly after his side claimed their nail-biting win in Wellington, he said: "I'm a pretty happy clown this week.

"It's great to tie the series up and we go to Auckland next week with everything to play for. Even with the cards, I think we were the better team and we deserved to win. We played some good rugby. We have away some soft penalties and we need to fix that for next week but I thought the better team won."

The Lions conceded 13 penalties throughout the game, 10 of them kickable, seven punished by Beauden Barrett. But nontheless, Gatland was a proud man at full-time.

He said: "(I'm most proud of) the last 10 minutes, guys coming off their line and really being aggressive in the way they stopped that momentum of the All Blacks. I thought our control was pretty good.

AS IT HAPPENED: New Zealand 21-24 British and Irish Lions Live: Conor Murray scores a try as the Lions end All Blacks' unbeaten home run

"We probably didn't kick enough in the first half. They kicked 16 times to our nine in the first half and with the weather conditions, it was difficult to catch the ball. Then when we got the ball in their half, we got in behind them in and we stretched them. We looked comfortable defensively but with Sonny Bill Williams off the field that makes it difficult.

"I'm proud of the performance and we look forward to next week."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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