Sean O'Brien has blamed Warren Gatland and his coaching staff for the Lions' failure to win their three-Test series with New Zealand this summer.

The Lions, whose only series victory in New Zealand came in 1971, had been widely written off at the outset and the eventual series draw was greeted as a moral victory in many quarters. 

Scrum-half Conor Murray spoke afterwards about the initially maligned Lions gaining respect on the tour and there was clearly a celebratory mood emanating from the tourists' dressing room at the end of the third and final Test, which ended in a 15-15 draw.

Gatland, meanwhile, was widely perceived to have quietened his critics in his native land, who had derided his team and tactics at the beginning of the tour. 

However, Sean O'Brien, who featured in all three Tests and was feted as one of the stars of the tour, has a wildly different perspective. 

O'Brien contends that the Lions should have won the series comfortably and would have done so but for missteps by the management, particularly early on in the tour.  

"Probably the way it was structured the coaches were doing a bit of catch-up before the first Test and the week leading into the last Test as well.," O'Brien told The Irish Daily Mail, referring to a triple training session on the Thursday before the first Test defeat.

The Leinster flanker singled out backs coach Rob Howley for particular criticism.

"If I was being critical of any coach it would be the fact that I think Rob struggled with the group in terms of his attributes of trying to get stuff across. Whereas Johnny and Owen drove everything the second week, for instance, in our attack and had a better plan in place."

O'Brien, speaking in his local Tullow RFC at a Leinster event to announce a five-year extension to their deal with Bank of Ireland, sounded genuinely frustrated with how the Lions Tour went.

"We should have won 3-0 with the players we had. We should have won the series. Looking back, and I could be completely wrong, but if we had a little more structure during the weeks and more of an attack game plan, as such, driven way earlier in the tour, we could win 3-0."