Warren Gatland has named his Lions assistants for the South Africa tour (Getty Images) Warren Gatland’s Lions 2021 coaching teamWarren Gatland has named his coaching team for this summer’s British & Irish Lions 2021 tour to South Africa.Gatland, who has been head coach on the past two tours, will be assisted by Gregor Townsend (attack), Robin McBryde (forwards), Steve Tandy (defence) and Neil Jenkins (kicking).Scotland head coach Townsend and Jenkins, who is Wales’ kicking coach, were both part of the 1997 Lions team that beat the Springboks – the last time the tourists won in South Africa.This will be Jenkins’s fourth Lions tour as a coach and Townsend’s first. McBryde, who was part of Gatland’s Wales back-room team for more than a decade and is now in charge of Leinster’s forwards, toured with the Lions as a player in 2001 but this is also his first involvement as part of the coaching team, as it is for Scotland defence coach Tandy.Lions coaches McBryde, Tandy, Gatland, Townsend and Jenkins (Inpho)“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,” said Gatland.“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.”It has been widely reported that Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree – both involved in previous tours – were initially set to take on assistant roles with the Lions but withdrew last week.Gatland may add to his coaching team closer to the tour – perhaps someone like former Lions captain and current Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell – but Jenkins, McBryde, Tandy and Townsend are the core quartet of assistants. The New Zealander has named four assistants for this summer’s tour to South Africa Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS TAGS: Highlight Jenkins is excited to be working with Townsend again, saying: “The Lions is a unique experience for players and coaches.“To bring together the best players from four countries and take on the Springboks in their own backyard is very exciting. To do it with one of my Lions team-mates from 24 years ago is incredibly special for me.”McBryde has called on the Lions to be “uncompromising” in the way they play and Tandy has spoken of the need for everyone to get “on the same page as quickly as possible” when it comes to defence.Townsend added: “To be involved as a player and now as a coach is truly humbling.“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.”The Lions squad is due to be announced in early May and assemble in late June. Before heading to South Africa to take on the world champions, they will play a Test against Japan at BT Murrayfield on 26 June.This tour will be unlike any other due to the pandemic. The squad is set to operate in a ‘bubble’, as teams did in the Six Nations, and the tour itself is likely to be limited to one or two locations rather than moving around South Africa to minimise the risk of Covid-19.Gatland said: “Touring South Africa is always a huge challenge and clearly when the squad assembles in June to begin our preparations everything is going to look and feel a bit different to previous tours.“But having spoken to the coaches individually over the past few days we’re absolutely determined to make it an enjoyable, memorable and ultimately successful experience for everyone involved.”What do you think of Warren Gatland’s Lions 2021 coaching team? Let us know your thoughts by emailing [email protected] or get in touch via social media.
Consumer spending rose 5.5% year-on-year in October, the highest growth since Barclaycard began publishing data on consumer finances in 2011.Entertainment was a strong driver, up 12.7%, with cinema spending at record high of 20.9% and pubs and restaurants posting double-digit growth.Not all rises were due to consumers splashing out though, with the weakening pound helping push petrol to a 26-month high of 6.6% and hotels up 11.2%Consumer sentiment suffered a marked drop, with only a third of people feeling confident in the UK economy (compared with nearly half in September), and 81% expecting prices to rise.“The backdrop of ‘hard Brexit’ headlines, the weakening pound and high-profile issues such as ‘Marmite-gate’ mean consumers are starting to worry about the impact of inflation on their everyday lives,”said Barclaycard managing director Paul Lockstone.”As we approach Christmas, an expensive time in many households, many consumers are telling us they plan to rein in their spending to ensure they are able to make ends meet.”Barclaycard said its data is based on processing nearly half of all the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.
France’s bullish lock was banned for 10 weeks for his crude challenge on Heaslip in Ireland’s 18-11 RBS Six Nations victory on Valentine’s Day. The 35-year-old may not play again in the Six Nations if he retires from Test rugby as planned after the World Cup, but will lock horns with Heaslip again in Sunday’s Pool D decider in Cardiff. Stade Francais second row Pape intends to focus on guiding France to a victory that would line up Argentina in the quarter-finals and leave Ireland facing New Zealand. “It’s not a concern for me, or for him probably,” said Pape when asked about renewing hostilities with Heaslip. “I don’t know how to take the question, it’s not important for me. It wasn’t a problem.” Pape pleaded guilty to the offence and had his ban reduced by five weeks for showing remorse, tweeting Heaslip to apologise. Leinster loose-forward Heaslip accepted the apology by responding to Pape on social media, showing humility despite a nasty injury. “I apologised, he accepted that and we moved on,” said Pape. “I’ll just work hard for the team. “There are plenty of engagements and collisions in matches. I expect fierce competition with lots of physicality but no problems.” France fly-half Frederic Michalak vowed not to fret too much about hounding Johnny Sexton, admitting he would let attack-dog flanker Thierry Dusautoir worry about that instead. Les Bleus have unashamedly placed a target on Sexton’s back this week for the third time in succession. Philippe Saint-Andre’s men know that to stop Sexton is to stop Ireland, and will again send freight-train centre Mathieu Bastareaud straight down his channel at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday. “He’s a great player, he’s had two years in France so I’ve played against him a number of times,” said Michalak of Sexton. “I’ll concentrate on the French team though, I can’t worry about him particularly – I’ll leave that to Thierry!” France will play their first World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium since their superlative 20-18 victory over New Zealand in the 2007 quarter-finals. The French clung on at the death with the All Blacks squandering numerous chances to drop for goal, desperate not just to win but to do so in style. Dusautoir scored a try and set a World Cup-record 38 tackles in a monumental shift in that last-eight battle, but downplayed any chances of a repeat performance against Ireland on Sunday. France have failed to beat Ireland in their last four meetings and even the inspirational Dusautoir admitted he would not put any big money on Saint-Andre’s men. “Eight years has passed since that great match here, so a lot has changed” said Dusautoir. “It’s not a quarter-final, it’s not the same, but it’s massively important for us. “We’ve got to front up to Ireland in order to succeed. We’ve got to play our best rugby to win but we can’t be thinking about repeating the past, it’s a different scenario. “It’s true that we haven’t beaten Ireland in four years but we had two draws, that I remember well. And the two defeats were very close. “I hope that tomorrow we will have the arguments to win the game. I wouldn’t gamble on the French team but I think we can change the story tomorrow on the pitch.” Pascal Pape remains unfazed by facing Jamie Heaslip for the first time since kneeing Ireland’s number eight in the back in a challenge inflicting fractured vertebrae. Press Association
By Olawale Ajimotokan in AbujaPlateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has made it mandatory for members of the state’s executive committee to play golf by registering with golf clubs in Jos, the state capital.Lalong disclosed this to reporters at the recent LGAN Northern Zone Championship that held in Abuja.He described golf as a lifestyle that when inculcated will make his commissioners remain healthy and avoid untimely death usually associated with politicians.The governor also said the policy is to enable the executive tap into his philosophy of using golf to drive Plateau State as a major tourism destination in Nigeria.“Golf is a game for gentlemen. In my state, I have made it compulsory for all members of the executive to register with all the three clubs. As it is, few of my commissioners have become good golfers. I want to encourage people, particularly politicians, who run away from exercise at a time we see politicians dying. One thing that will take them away from sudden death is to start playing golf,” Lalong said.Jos is renowned for its temperate weather and boasts of three golf courses-Rayfield, Lamengo and Army owned Rhino Golf Club inside Rukuba Barracks.Aside the aforementioned courses, Lalong also revealed of the existence of a nine-hole, all green course in the Government House.The course that was built by a former military governor was abandoned and was only rehabilitated by the state government which upgraded it to green.Lalong similarly revealed of plan to transform Rayfield and Lamengo into green courses, while the state also plans to set up a golf academy that will nurture children and ladies and make them good golfers.And in line with effort to develop professional golf, there will be a second Plateau State Governor’s Cup in December to coincide with Christmas.Lalong, who plays golf off handicap 13, said that people are indifferent to golf because they see it as a sport only for the rich and a form of exercise for retired army officers.”Golf is a sport you can do even at the age of 100. I used to assume it was an exercise for retired military men and for lazy people- those who don’t want to do anything. I saw them as people walking in the bush with a golf stick. I said I would rather go hunting than to play golf. But the people were shocked the first month I started playing golf. People were very surprised when I changed tune that it is not an exercise for lazy men and retired military officers,” concludes the governor.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram