Following Warren Gatland’s completion of his British & Irish Lions assistant coaching lineup, check out these profiles illustrating their coaching credentials.
GREGOR TOWNSEND (Attack coach):
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will be making his Lions coaching debut in the 2021 series against South Africa, 24 years after taking on the Springboks as a player.
Townsend made six appearances for the British & Irish Lions during the successful 1997 tour of South Africa, scoring two tries against the Sharks and Northern Transvaal.
The Scotsman also started the first two Tests at outside half as the Lions secured a historic series victory over the Springboks on what proved to be Townsend’s sole tour.
In the 1999 Five Nations Championship, Townsend became the first Scotsman since 1925 to score a try against every other country as Scotland were crowned champions.
Overall, he made 82 appearances for Scotland and scored 164 points while he spent his club career playing in Scotland, England, France and South Africa.
As a coach, Townsend led Glasgow Warriors to the PRO12 title in 2015 before taking over as Scotland head coach in 2017, leading them at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
His Scotland side ended their 38-year wait for a win over England at Twickenham in the 2021 Six Nations before also winning in France for the first time since 1999.
- Played for Northampton Saints, Brive, Castres, Border Reivers, Montpellier and the Sharks
- Made 82 appearances for Scotland from 1993 to 2003
- Won the 1999 Five Nations Championship title
- Represented the Lions in two Tests on 1997 tour to South Africa
- Scotland assistant coach from 2009 to 2012
- Glasgow Warriors head coach from 2012-17
- Won the 2015 PRO12 title with Glasgow Warriors
- Scotland head coach from 2017-present
NEIL JENKINS (Kicking coach)
A two-time tourist as a player, Neil Jenkins will be coaching on his fourth British & Irish Lions tour in South Africa having been part of the backroom team in 2009, 2013 and 2017.
The Wales international donned the famous Lions jersey in 1997 and 2001, making 12 appearances in total, while he finished his career with 87 caps for his country.
Jenkins scored 1,049 points for Wales during his career and was rugby union’s leading points-scorer at the time of his retirement with 1,090 in total, which included 41 for the Lions.
Wales’ highest-ever points-scorer and the first player to score 1,000 international points, he played in a total of nine Five Nations Championships, two Six Nations and two Rugby World Cups.
Had he not used a magnetic coil on his arm, Jenkins would have likely missed the Lions’ 1997 tour of South Africa after he broke his forearm in that year’s Five Nations.
His place was in doubt until the day before departure but the flyhalf turned fullback kicked 24 points in a Test warm-up against Natal to get the nod at fullback for the series opener.
Jenkins went on to score 15 points in each of the first and second Tests and 11 in the third, kicking the Lions to a famous 2-1 series victory over the Springboks.
He made one Test appearance four years later in Australia and has been working for the WRU as a coach since 2004, helping Wales to Grand Slam titles in 2008, 2012 and 2019 as kicking/skills coach.
- Played on two British & Irish Lions tours (1997, 2001)
- Made 12 appearances for the Lions including three Test caps
- Won 87 caps for Wales and scored 1,049 points
- First player to score 1,000 international points
- Lions assistant/kicking coach in 2009, 2013 and 2017
- Wales kicking/skills coach 2006-present
- Won Grand Slam titles with Wales in 2008, 2012 and 2019
- Six Nations title winner in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2019 and 2021
STEVE TANDY (Defence coach)
Scotland defence coach Steve Tandy will experience a British & Irish Lions tour for the first time as part of Warren Gatland’s coaching team for the 2021 series.
The Welshman played openside flank for Neath RFC and Ospreys during his playing career, making more than 100 appearances for the latter over seven years.
Tandy began his transition into coaching while still a player with the Ospreys age-grade teams, guiding the U16 squad to the WRU Age Grade Championship.
He went on to become head coach at Bridgend RFC while still an Ospreys player, securing the Division 1 title with the Ravens and guiding them into the Principality Premiership.
After hanging up his boots, Tandy took over as Ospreys head coach in February 2012 and led the Welsh region to the PRO12 title at the end of his first season in charge.
Tandy moved on from Ospreys after six years to join the NSW Waratahs coaching team in 2018 as defence coach, remaining with the Super Rugby side for two seasons.
He was appointed Scotland assistant coach in December 2019 and oversaw the defence which limited England to six points as Scotland ended their 38-year wait for a win at Twickenham.
- Played for Neath from 1998 to 2003 (40 appearances)
- Made 102 appearances for Ospreys between 2003-10
- Bridgend head coach 2010-12
- Ospreys head coach 2012-18 (PRO12 title in 2011-12)
- NSW Waratahs defence coach 2018-19
- Scotland assistant coach 2019-present
ROBIN MCBRYDE (Forward coach)
A British & Irish Lions player on the 2001 tour to Australia, Robin McBryde will form part of the tourists’ coaching team for the first time in South Africa.
McBryde’s only previous tour was ended early by injury, but not before securing his place in the Lions’ record books as part of the side that defeated Western Australia 116-10.
Capped 37 times for Wales during an international career spanning 11 years, the Bangor-born hooker made his debut against Fiji in 1994 and represented his country at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
He was part of Wales’ 2005 Grand Slam-winning team before retiring later that year after a career during which he also played 250 games for Llanelli and then Scarlets.
McBryde immersed himself in coaching after hanging up his boots –first with the Scarlets U18 side before becoming forwards coach for Wales.
McBryde became an integral part of Warren Gatland’s coaching team winning three Grand Slams (2008, 2012 and 2019) and a Six Nations Championship (2013) in a 13-year career in the Wales coaching set-up.
He joined the Leinster coaching team following the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where Wales reached the semi-finals, helping the province to PRO14 titles in 2020 and 2021.
- Played more than 250 games for Llanelli and Scarlets
- Captained Llanelli (Welsh Cup win 1998, Welsh Championship in 1999)
- Represented Wales 37 times (2005 Grand Slam winner)
- Made four appearances for the Lions on 2001 tour to Australia
- Scarlets Regional U18 coach from 2005-06
- Wales forwards coach and WRU National Skills coach for 11 years
- Forwards coach for three Grand Slam wins (2008, 2012 and 2019)
- Interim Wales head coach in 2009, 2013 and 2017