Warren Gatland says he was embarrassed to be a Kiwi after a New Zealand newspaper portrayed Australia coach Michael Cheika as a clown.
The New Zealand Herald mocked up Cheika as a clown on the morning of the Bledisloe Cup Test between the All Blacks and the Wallabies on October 22, where the world champions went on to win their record 18th Test in a row.
After Australia lost 37-10, Cheika said his depiction as a clown was “disrespectful”. Gatland, who will take the British and Irish Lions on a tour to New Zealand next year, was in the stands for that game.
“To be honest with you and I don’t mind you printing this, I was at Eden Park watching the game a couple of weeks ago and as a Kiwi I was embarrassed,” Gatland said at the launch of the new Canterbury Lions jersey.
“There’s the clown stuff in the Herald. One of the things I’ve been proud of as a Kiwi, I always thought we showed a lot of humility. As a Kiwi I was sitting in the stands watching the game and I was a little bit embarrassed.
“In the past, as New Zealanders, we’ve prided ourselves on being humble about the success of the rugby team. It was the first time, and this is just my opinion, that I found myself saying ‘we’re better than this’.
“There was still a large proportion of that crowd booing Quade Cooper. And to me, get over it. There’s a proportion at the moment in New Zealand where it’s arrogance and not humility. I still think you can be proud, but show humility and show respect.”
The New Zealand Herald wasted little time in responding to Gatland’s comments, producing the following image on Wednesday.
— Russ Petty (@rpetty80) 2 November 2016