Wales coach Warren Gatland prepares to face New Zealand again admitting he would like to get some people “into a corner of a room on their own” after last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour.
Gatland guided the Lions to a historic series draw against the world champions in their own backyard — only the second time the visitors had avoided defeat in 113 years of touring there.
But the series was marked by controversy as the New Zealand media launched several personal attacks on Gatland, who was even depicted as a clown on one front page.
“There was some pretty underhand stuff going on. It was challenging,” Gatland said, ahead of the All Blacks’ visit to Cardiff Saturday.
“There are one or two people I would like to get into a corner of a room on their own with me.
“But that might wait for another day.”
Gatland, however, did not include All Blacks coach Steve Hansen in that category, despite the apparently tense relationship between the two men.
The pair traded barbs throughout the series and the war of words reopened last month after Gatland said he had “hated” coaching the Lions because of the “press and the negativity” in New Zealand.
Hansen responded by suggesting that Gatland should give up coaching if that was the case, and said he would not be reading his fellow New Zealander’s book on the series.
But Gatland was keen to play down any ill-feeling between the pair ahead of their Principality Stadium reunion.
“People try to make a lot of stuff about myself and Steve, but from my point of view there are no issues between us,” Gatland said.
“I have a huge amount of respect for what he has achieved in the game, and the success he has had as an All Black coach. He has been absolutely outstanding.
“I look forward to catching up with him on Saturday, having a beer after the game.
“In recent years on a couple of occasions we have gone out as two management groups for meals during the week.
“We all understand the pressures we are under, but they are not as a result of our relationship.”