Tuesday’s much-anticipated announcement by Warren Gatland of his British and Irish Lions coaching team was met by an unusual response. There was inevitably going to be plenty of interest in who did and did not make the staff, but one thing that was not on the agenda beforehand became the biggest talking point by far online – the lack of hair in Gatland’s coaching team.
Gatland’s staff for this year’s tour of South Africa includes Scotland team duo Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy, who will respectively serve as the Lions attack coach and defence coaches.
The staff is completed by Neil Jenkins and Robin McBryde, who both worked with Gatland during his time in charge of Wales. Current Wales skills coach Jenkins joins the staff as kicking coach, the role he had on the previous Lions tour, and Leinster assistant coach McBryde joins as forwards coach.
With each coach’s mugshot laid next to one another online, it was hard not to notice the trait that unites Tuesday’s four additions. In fact, Gatland’s usual buzz cut now looks like long flowing locks when pictured alongside the rest of his coaching staff, as he was by far and away the most hirsute member of the team.
Social media was flooded with comments about the make-up of the Lions coaching team assembled by Gatland. These ranged from the tour being named “The Brave and the Bald” to suggestions that the Lions will not need to spend on shampoo or barbers this year. There has not been a shortage of photos of eggs either.
Of course, there were serious responses to this team, with some questioning how France defence coach and long-time Gatland colleague Shaun Edwards or Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster did not make the coaching team. The pair would have been very well suited to this coaching team based on their rugby credentials alone, but their smooth heads would have also clearly met one of Gatland’s other main requirements.
This year's Lions theme is apparently "The Brave and the Bald". Congrats to Toonie and Tandy, although I'm a little concerned that they've already taken the two designated Scottish Lions places… https://t.co/Vrp6NKW0IC
— John U. Millar (@runofthemillar) April 13, 2021
They'll be saving on the shampoo budget this year ?? https://t.co/fFEDFRv47Q
— Gavin Evans (@Gavevans88) April 13, 2021
Pantene must have turned down the shirt sponsorship
— Theophilus “Forensic” Wildebeest ? (@PWildebest) April 13, 2021
— The Northern Rugby Podcast (@North_Rugby_Pod) April 13, 2021
?Tour of the moonheads?
— Ianto Phillips (@iantollwyd) April 13, 2021
Congratulations to Gregor Townsend, Steve Tandy, Robin McBryde & Neil Jenkins on their appointments pic.twitter.com/Ruf2J5Wb8n
— Graham Love (@glove931) April 13, 2021
Surely Gats has to shave his head. Tour rules
— Craig Price (@CraigPrice1) April 13, 2021
This looks like the easiest game of Guess Who, ever.
Is he bald? pic.twitter.com/LOnApGpFxX
— Barry Hurford (@BarryHurford) April 13, 2021
No barbers needed on tour for the coaching ticket !
— Cameron Black (@black_cameron) April 13, 2021
Did Warren Gatland just copy and paste the same dude 4 times? https://t.co/ETQrIyF3RG
— Allie O'Rourke (@allie_orourke) April 13, 2021
Hmmm, there is something about this line up and I can't quite put my finger on it ? https://t.co/ooezGua8br
— Siobhán Ryan (@siobhanryan26) April 13, 2021
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