Scotland boss Townsend to assist Warren Gatland on British & Irish Lions Tour

Gregor Townsend 2000 2021
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will join forces with the British & Irish Lions this summer after being named as one of Warren Gatland’s assistant coaches.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will join forces with the British & Irish Lions this summer after being named as one of Warren Gatland’s assistant coaches.

Gatland revealed the first portion of his backroom staff for this summer’s tour of South Africa, with coaches Townsend, Steve Tandy, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins all on board.

Townsend will oversee the Lions’ attack and this summer will be the first time the former fly-half will have been part of a Lions coaching team, having previously toured South Africa as a player.

He joins just a month after leading Scotland to three wins in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, including famous away victories at England for the first time in 38 years and France for the first time since 1999.

“To be involved as a player and now as a coach is truly humbling,” commented Townsend.

“The Springboks are a formidable opponent on home turf, but looking at the talent in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it is a hugely exciting opportunity for us to do something special.

“One of the great challenges of a Lions Tour is to bring together players from four different countries, in a short space of time, and create an attacking threat that will cause the opposition problems. It’s something I am already looking forward to.”

Townsend will once again work alongside Tandy, who will oversee the Lions defence and hope to replicate the success he enjoyed with Scotland in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.

Tandy’s Scotland defence conceded the second fewest points in the Championship and only ten tries.

Wales kicking coach Jenkins returns to coach on a fourth Lions tour in the same role and re-unites with Gatland, who he worked under for 11 years in the Wales set-up.

Meanwhile, former Wales assistant coach McBryde also joins forces with Gatland again and will serve as the forwards coach.

“I am very pleased to have assembled such a high-quality coaching team,” said Gatland.

“It’s a really strong group and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together – I think we’ll all complement each other well in South Africa.

“A Lions Tour is a unique challenge, so it’s important to have some continuity in the coaching group. Neil understands the exceptional demands that only a Lions Tour can present, and we will benefit from his knowledge and experience.

“But it’s also important to have new voices and a fresh perspective. Gregor is doing an excellent job in charge of Scotland and is an outstanding coach. He also understands the challenges of touring South Africa as a player and what it takes to win there, so I am extremely happy he will be part of the set-up.

“Steve has made Scotland’s defence one of the most organised in world rugby – something we saw throughout the recent Six Nations. He’s clearly an intelligent coach and someone I am very much looking forward to working with.

“Obviously Robin is someone who I know very well from our time together in Wales. He is an impressive and experienced coach who continues to have success with Leinster. I think he’ll be well suited to the Lions environment and I am sure he will do an excellent job with the forwards.”