Warren Gatland describes former Ireland captain Keith Wood as a ‘mé féiner’
Kiwi was responding to criticism of his decision to leave Brian O’Driscoll out of final Lions test
Warren Gatland, left, has voiced his disapproval of the criticism levelled at his Lions’ selections and tactics by Keith Wood, right, who was his skipper when the New Zealander was at the Ireland helm. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho
In the week when old wounds between Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane were re-opened following revelations in the former’s biography and Keane’s response as a television pundit, a lingering rift between Warren Gatland and Keith Wood also resurfaced yesterday when the Wales and Lions coach described the former Irish and Lions’ hooker as a “mé féiner”.
Wood served under Gatland as Ireland captain during the latter’s tenure as Ireland coach from February 1998 to December 2001 before Gatland was informed by the IRFU that he had taken them as far as he could despite only finishing behind Six Nations champions England on points difference.
Last summer Wood labelled Gatland’s decision to omit Brian O’Drisocll from the Lions’ match-day squad for the third test as “a terrible mistake” at the time.
He also criticised the direct style the Lions employed under Gatland’s coaching.
The Lions duly beat the Wallabies by 41-16 in the series decider, although Wood insisted he stood by his comments in the aftermath of the tour.
Asked about Wood in a live video question and answer session on Wales online yesterday, Gatland didn’t hold back, using the unflattering Gaelic term ‘mé féiner’ to describe Wood.
“With regard to Keith Wood, I think he’s let himself down, basically,” said Gatland.
“That’s for him to have to deal with. I think some of the things he said were a little bit . . . rather than respect that coaches make decisions he’s gone and made it a little bit personal.
“That’s probably a reflection of him as an individual. The Irish have a great saying – ‘he’s a mé féiner’. That probably sums him up.”
Gatland’s decision to omit O’Driscoll generated huge anger within Ireland but despite that controversy, and this latest spat, Gatland is to follow Brian O’Driscoll a week ago in agreeing to be one of Ryan Tubridy’s guests on The Late Late Show tonight.