Lions tour: Clown-nosed Warren Gatland claims accidental offside was a penalty to Lions video

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen shakes hands with Lions coach Warren Gatland after the match.
PHOTOSPORT

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen shakes hands with Lions coach Warren Gatland after the match.

Warren Gatland fronted the media with a clown's nose slapped in the middle of his face.

He didn't quite have the last laugh, but he and his British and Irish Lions went very close to it at Eden Park, didn't they?

Following the 15-all draw to the All Blacks in Auckland Gatland, the coach of the Lions, might have been forced to mull a drawn series - but at least it didn't deny him his sense of humour.

Warren Gatland wore a clown nose to the post-match press conference, then made some bizarre claims.

Warren Gatland wore a clown nose to the post-match press conference, then made some bizarre claims.

Earlier in the series, the New Zealand Herald printed a cartoon that depicted Gatland as a goofy clown, and it wasn't appreciated by the man himself, his management team or their supporters.

READ MORE:
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* ABs v Lions: Five key moments in the third test
* Mon dieu - Ref stuns in final minute

But Gatland soldiered on and almost claimed the Lions first series win in New Zealand since 1971. So when it was his turn to talk to the media after the pulsating match he arrived with a clown's nose on his bugle.

Kieran Read and Sam Warburton share the spoils after the test series was drawn.
JASON REED/REUTERS

Kieran Read and Sam Warburton share the spoils after the test series was drawn.

It must also be said that Gatland had less reason to be grumpy than his counterpart Steve Hansen and his All Blacks.

Because anyone who watched the third test - which was supposed to be the deciding one, too - thought the home side was ripped off when referee Romain Poite backed down from awarding the All Blacks a kickable penalty because replacement hooker Ken Owens received the ball in an offside position.

Gatland had a different take on the matter - and it was bizarre.

He said the Lions should have been awarded the penalty instead, and praised his captain Sam Warburton for the way he was able to convince Poite that Owens was accidentally offside and the punishment should only be a free-kick.

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"I thought it was a penalty to us," Gatland said. "I thought Kieran Read - I didn't think he had any chance of getting his hand on that - that was my initial thought. That he had hit the player in the air.

"I can understand that he is saying he competing for that, and the ball has come (down) and landed in Ken Owens' arms. In fairness to the man next to me (Lions captain Sam Warburton) he has been quite smart and astute and been able to talk the referee from a penalty into an accidental offside.

DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGES HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES GETTY IMAGES HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED Hannah Peters DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED/REUTERS PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED/REUTERS PHOTOSPORT NIGEL MARPLE/REUTERS HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES JASON REED/REUTERS HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF CHRIS SKELTON NIGEL MARPLE/REUTERS

Kieran Read talks to the referee.

Lions players remonstrate with Referee Romain Poite of France after awarding a last minute scrum to the All Blacks.

Liam Williams of the Lions attempts to catch the ball.

Beauden Barrett is tackled.

Rhys Webb of the Lions makes a break.

Jerome Kaino was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

Jerome Kaino's forearm connected with the Lions' Alun Wynn Jones.

Johnny Sexton of the Lions goes down injured.

Alun Wyn Jones of the Lions charges towards Brodie Retallick.

The Lions' Owen Farrell kicks a penalty.

Jordie Barrett celebrates with Julian Savea after scoring a try.

Jordie Barrett scores a try.

Ngani Laumape celebrates scoring a try.

Ngani Laumape scores a try.

Lions' Maro Itoje in action.

The All Blacks perform the haka.

Lions coach Warren Gatland watches the team warm up before the match.

A young Lions fan gets excited before the match.

A young All Blacks fan looks on prior to kickoff.

A man in the crowd goes wild.

Lions fans cheer before the match.

Lions fans before the match.

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"We would have been devastated as a group if we had lost the game from that kick-off."

Gatland also noted he was "disappointed" the Lions had been penalised for a scrum infringement earlier in the game, enabling Beauden Barrett to kick an easy penalty.

"It comes in swings and roundabouts," Gatland added. "You get calls that go for you, and calls that go against you.

Rhys Webb of the Lions makes a break during the third test match against All Blacks in Auckland.
GETTY IMAGES

Rhys Webb of the Lions makes a break during the third test match against All Blacks in Auckland.

"And I thought the result was probably a fair reflection of where the tour was and two teams that really went hard at each other tonight."

Gatland, who guided the Lions to a 2-1 series win over the Wallabies in Australia in 2013, has reason to be satisfied.

Because when the Lions lost their second tour game to the Blues at Eden Park there were real fears this tour would be a fizzer. Instead the Lions, after losing the first test 30-15 at the same venue, clawed their way back into the series when Sonny Bill Williams got red carded in the second test in Wellington.

Lions fullback Liam Williams attempts to catch the ball during the third test against the All Blacks in Auckland.
GETTY IMAGES

Lions fullback Liam Williams attempts to catch the ball during the third test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

"A win would have been nice," Gatland added. "We felt we didn't play that well tonight. There were a lot of turnovers, and it wasn't until after the game that I realised how slippery the ball was. It was wet out there.

"If you had said six weeks ago 'come to New Zealand and draw a test series' you would probably take that. We have felt as a team that we have learned a heck of an amount on this tour."

 - Stuff

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