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Gat shocked by abuse.

Byline: From ALEX SPINK

WARREN GATLAND watched his Lions heroes make history in Australia then said he wasn't in the mood to celebrate.

He had gambled his reputation by axing Irish icon Brian O'Driscoll.

It earned him a torrent of abuse on social media, which left him wounded last night despite a record and serieswinning Lions victory.

"I was absolutely shocked by it," said Gatland (right).

"We made a tough call and we knew there would be some fallout from it, but it was vitriolic almost. People are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes you have to make tough calls, but I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of this in terms of feeling vindicated.

"That's why you're in the job, to make those tough calls. But I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been tough with the amount of criticism that's been personally placed on me."

O'Driscoll set aside his personal disappointment to speak to his team-mates in the Olympic Stadium changing rooms beforehand.

Conor Murray, who came off the bench to guide the Lions to glory, revealed: "Drisco was a huge part of this. He let the emotion come out in what he said before the game. Then everyone went out there and gave it everything."

Australia, who dropped the opening kick-off and were behind for all but 78 seconds of the game, could have no complaints.

Wallaby try-scorer James O'Connor admitted: "It was a great performance by the Lions, they played like men possessed."

At the end Gatland shook the hand of every one of his coaching staff. He said: "Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line. Every now and again you get it right."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2013
Words:284
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