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A Scot and three Welshmen – A look at Warren Gatland’s Lions coaching staff

Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent
·3-min read

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has unveiled the coaches who will work alongside him on the tour to South Africa this summer.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the appointments and their records.

Warren Gatland

Wales v Uruguay – Pool D – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Kumamoto Stadium
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland (Adam Davy/PA)

Nationality: New Zealander.

Age: 57.

Current job: Chiefs head coach.

Lions role: Head coach.

Lions history: Head coach for the 2013, 2017 and 2021 tours. Assistant coach in 2009.

Test caps: None.

Club playing career: Waikato.

Form guide: Among the finest coaches in rugby history. Had domestic and European success with Wasps and took charge of Wales in 2008, winning a Six Nations Grand Slam in his first season. Further titles and Grand Slams followed, plus two World Cup semi-final appearances. Was at the helm for a Lions series win against Australia eight years ago, and drawn series with then world champions New Zealand in 2017.

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend during a training session
Gregor Townsend is Scotland head coach (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Nationality: Scottish.

Age: 47.

Current job: Scotland head coach.

Lions role: Assistant coach (attack).

Lions history: Two Tests as a player, 1997 tour of South Africa.

Test caps: 82 for Scotland (1993-2003).

Club playing career: Northampton, Brive, Castres, Border Reivers, Montpellier.

Form guide: Impressive. Masterminded Scotland away victories over England – a first since 1983 – and France, ending a 22-year wait, during this season’s Guinness Six Nations. Undoubtedly a Lions scholar of the great Sir Ian McGeechan, there is nothing not to like about Townsend’s appointment.

Robin McBryde

Wales Training Session – Principality Stadium
Leinster forwards coach Robin McBryde (Ben Birchall/PA)

Nationality: Welsh.

Age: 50.

Current job: Leinster forwards coach.

Lions role: Assistant coach (forwards).

Lions history: Four appearances as a player, 2001 tour of Australia.

Test caps: 37 for Wales (1994-2005).

Club playing career: Swansea, Llanelli, Scarlets.

Form guide: Excellent. Was part of Gatland’s coaching furniture when the New Zealander led Wales through an era of Six Nations title triumphs, Grand Slams and World Cup semi-final appearances. McBryde goes about his business without fuss or bother, and he is now an integral part of Leinster’s push for a record fifth European title this season.

Steve Tandy

Ospreys v Exeter Chiefs – European Champions Cup – Pool Two – Liberty Stadium
Steve Tandy is Scotland defence coach (Joe Giddens/PA)

Nationality: Welsh.

Age: 41.

Current job: Scotland defence coach.

Lions role: Assistant coach (defence).

Lions history: None.

Test caps: None.

Club playing career: Neath, Ospreys.

Form guide: Strong. Welshman Tandy might be the biggest Lions selection bolter of all this time around, but Gatland will know his coaching quality well from a six-year stint as Ospreys boss. Developed further during a coaching stint with Super Rugby side the Waratahs in Australia, and Scotland are reaping the benefits.

Neil Jenkins

Neil Jenkins at a press conference
Neil Jenkins is Wales assistant coach (David Davies/PA)

Nationality: Welsh.

Age: 49.

Current job: Wales assistant coach.

Lions role: Assistant coach (kicking).

Lions history: Four Tests as a player, 1997 tour of South Africa, 2001 tour of Australia. Assistant coach on 2009, 2013 and 2017 tours.

Test caps: 87 for Wales (1991-2002).

Club playing career: Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors.

Form guide: Top-notch. Like McBryde, Jenkins was one of Gatland’s right-hand men for more than 11 years with Wales, coaching the kickers to an impeccable standard and also offering skills expertise. Scored more than 1,000 points for Wales during his Test career, and he was pivotal to the Lions’ memorable 1997 Test series victory over South Africa.