Bryn Gatland has spoken out about the extra pain he felt after missing a game-winning penalty goal in the last Battle of the Bombays.
The Chiefs playmaker is in career-best form heading into Saturday night’s Super Rugby Pacific rematch against the Blues in Hamilton, which is especially more impressive given the “personal assaults” he faced after missing the tee in the 24-22 loss in Auckland five weeks ago.
“Obviously I was very disappointed, I pride myself highly on my goalkicking and the way that I confidently take those moments,” Gatland reflected to Stuff this week. “That’s what we train for, that’s what we live for.”
The 26-year-old said the wave of support from friends, family and team-mates had helped him get back on the horse quickly, after revealing he had been the target of some rather nasty backlash.
“There’s always going to be criticism, it’s just the nature of the sport, but there’s definitely a line between criticism and personal attacks,” Gatland said.
“I’ve got no problem with saying there’s a few people out there that can dive into that area.
“I’m not going to give them the light… the one thing I would say is you’re going to have to do better than that to break my spirit.”
“I went into that game with still a lot of confidence in my own ability,” Gatland said. “One missed kick doesn’t change me as a player or all of a sudden make me something else.
“Playing 80 minutes for me was awesome to really try and have a big influence in that game.”
Indeed, it was Gatland’s first full game for the Chiefs, in what is his second season at the franchise following two years at the Blues then three at the Highlanders.