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'Element of negativity' during 2017 Lions Tour 'caught me by surprise' - Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland admits he was surprised by the negativity he received from parts of New Zealand during the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour against the All Blacks.

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The new Chiefs coach said he was equally taken back by the messages of support he received during the tour. Source: Breakfast

Gatland told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning he was proud to be from New Zealand and specifically Waikato, having played 140 representative games for his home region before becoming a world-renowned coach.

"If you cut me open, I'd bleed red, yellow and black," Gatland said.

As such, Gatland said he was surprised to come to New Zealand with the Lions in 2017 and cop negativity from fans and media.

"It was strange, it really took me by surprise," he said.

"It was a brilliant tour - the fans, the hospitality in New Zealand was unbelievable and the atmosphere at the games was incredible but there was an element of negativity and a certain element in the press that caught me by surprise.

"But I have to say that the amount of people that contacted me afterwards to say that they were embarrassed by some of that coverage as Kiwis and everywhere we went, the amount of Kiwis that came up to me and said 'good luck today' and the atmosphere at those games were absolutely electric."

Breakfast presenter John Campbell wrapped the interview by pressing Gatland on whether he'd like to coach the All Blacks one day after Steve Hansen recently passed the reins on to Ian Foster.

Gatland was coy with his answer though.

"I'm not someone who plans," he said.

"I'm not someone who goes out there thinking 'what's my next step' and I'm a great believer in what will be, will be."