Senior officials John Spencer and John Feehan have defended the quality of coaching during the British and Irish Lions' tour of New Zealand following criticism from Sean O'Brien, who has moved to clarify his outspoken assessment.
Experienced Ireland international O'Brien was a key member of the team that earned a creditable 1-1 draw away to the world champion All Blacks.
But the Leinster flanker has since claimed the Lions were overworked by coach Warren Gatland and his staff in the lead-up to at least one Test, while also suggesting the travelling team had the talent at their disposal to win the series 3-0.
That critical assessment has come as a surprise to tour manager Spencer.
"This is the first time either during or since the tour that I have heard a player say anything like that," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"I was surprised and disappointed when I saw what Sean had said because it was a tour when everyone stuck together and showed great character to come back against a side that has been at the top of the world rankings for a very long time.
"I thought the coaches did an incredibly good job and to me what Warren Gatland achieved in New Zealand on the back of the 2013 success in Australia makes him the best coach in the world."
Spencer did confirm, though, that no action will be taken to censure O'Brien.
"I have no intention of taking the matter further," he said.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion but when you consider what happened the last time the Lions were in New Zealand, you can definitely say that the Lions are now in a very good place."
Lions chief executive Feehan echoed the sentiments of his colleague in defending Gatland's reign.
"I said all along that I think we had the best coaching team available and I think they proved that in what we achieved in New Zealand," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"To draw a series with the All Blacks, who had not lost a Test match at home for eight years was a remarkable result, and Warren and the coaches deserve huge credit for that.
"People will always have their views on what could have been done better but the fact is that, against all the odds and with limited preparation time, this squad became only the second Lions team in history to either win or draw a series in New Zealand in 13 attempts.
"That achievement cannot be underestimated."
O'Brien released a statement via Twitter on Thursday in which he stood by his remarks.
"To be clear, my views on the Lions tour were honest and genuine and solely with the intention of building on what was a great tour," he wrote.
"Unfortunately, some people have focused on what I feel we could have done better instead of what we did well.
"I have nothing but respect for Warren and the whole coaching team... But do I believe we - the players and coaches - could have done better? Yes. Do I believe we could have won the series? Yes."
|Macron to greet France team after Champs Elysees parade|
|Casillas and Suarez critical of VAR after World Cup final|
|TMO protocol clearly not working, says SANZAAR|
|Americans seek joy of six at Carnoustie, Rose out to end wretched run - The Open in Opta facts|
|Ronaldo arrives in Turin for Juventus medical|
|Stone: I had no idea what my score was!|
|The Open: A look back at Van de Velde´s Carnoustie calamity|
|Rakitic proud of ´brother´ Modric´s Golden Ball award|
|Serena can surpass Court, but Graf was the real target - Krajicek|
|Ronaldo moved to remain motivated - Kaka|
|Silva confident on Everton transfer targets|
|Golden Boot winner Kane aims to break August hoodoo|
|NFL training camp 2018: Contract holdouts and where they stand|
|Guardiola took me to another level - Alaba|
|Madrid selling Ronaldo a ´historic error´ - Calderon|
|MLS Review: LAFC, Atlanta held at home|
|Stones will watch re-runs of England´s World Cup matches|
|Ferdinand challenges Mourinho to unleash Pogba at United|
|Mbappe: I´m staying at PSG|
|Former NHL goalie Ray Emery found dead|
|Pirates secure five-game sweep of Brewers with walk-off win|
|WATCH: LeBron receives standing ovation at Lakers´ summer league game|
|Tony Romo wins celebrity-filled American Century Championship|
|McGregor praises Putin after attending World Cup final|
|Open-bound Kim claims maiden title with eight-shot triumph|
|Eagles running back Sproles plans to retire after next season|
|World Cup winner Rami retires from international football|
|Wimbledon champion Djokovic did not expect grand slam glory so soon|
|Ibrahimovic praises Pogba after World Cup final display|
|Wimbledon diary: Avengers too late for an Infinity War as Djokovic triumphs|
|Deschamp-agne – France´s 2018 vintage interrupt news conference to drench coach|
|I may have to dust my boots off! - Pele threatened by Mbappe exploits|
|WATCH: Mendy and Pogba dab with president Macron after World Cup win|
|Woods embracing ´different´ Carnoustie challenge ahead of Open return|
|Argentina dismiss Sampaoli after chaotic World Cup|
|France celebrates World Cup triumph|
|Djokovic made ´improvised Wimbledon trophies´ as a boy|
|Stone goes agonisingly close to 59 as Pepperell & Dantorp also make Open|
|Outcast Benzema delights in France win|
|Final a triumph in itself given Croatia´s off-field turmoil|
|Anderson laments Wimbledon final nerves|
|Deschamps joins elite club, Mbappe second to Pele - the best stats from the World Cup final|
|Belgium´s Courtois wins World Cup Golden Glove|
|Collarbone fracture confirmed for ´devastated´ Porte|
|World Cup final player ratings: Griezmann, Mbappe inspire France as Croatia fall short|
|World Cup winner Giroud ends tournament without shot on target|
|Modric wins World Cup Golden Ball|
|Mbappe wins World Cup Young Player award|
|Deschamps redeemed as France win World Cup final for the ages|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Twitter Report|
|Tomlin optimistic over Bell contract|
|Kane wins World Cup Golden Boot|
|Ajax keen on Blind deal - Van der Sar|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Pogba and Mbappe seal thrilling World Cup triumph|
|Anderson would have played another 21 hours to reach Wimbledon final|
|Djokovic delighted to crown ´comeback´ with Wimbledon glory|
|World Cup final interrupted by pitch invaders - Pussy Riot claim responsibility|
|Djokovic´s grass-court U-turn pays ultimate dividends with Wimbledon title|
|Mandzukic makes World Cup history with early own goal|
|Dominant Djokovic beats Anderson to regain Wimbledon title|
|Everybody said I´m done - Degenkolb revels in first Tour victory|
|´Big party´ for Marquez after Sachsenring success|
|Hazard enjoys Belgium´s welcome home|
|Ex-AC Milan president Berlusconi conflicted over Ronaldo to Juventus|
|Spain did not contact Martinez over head coach vacancy|
|Maybe the VAR was watching The Simpsons! - RSL coach Petke slams MLS officials|
|Cubs´ Darvish hopes to return by next weekend|
|France and Croatia name unchanged sides for World Cup final|
|Marquez maintains Sachsenring dominance|
|Courtois claims World Cup has boosted his value|