Sports

Photo essay: Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland both hate rugby and maybe life itself

In sport, there are winners and losers. Joy and disappointment. But in the coaching boxes for the Welsh and All Blacks sides, there is only darkness, misery, and despair. Hayden Donnell reports.

The All Blacks cruelly trashed Wales’ dreams for the second time running on Saturday, allowing their opponents a sliver of hope before crushing it between their oversized fingers. As always, the MSM scoured every possible angle on the triumph, analysing the merits of Sam Cane, the magificence of Dane Coles, and whether the All Blacks should be scared of England. Then, as always, Chris Rattue entered, caked in the bloody viscera that spews forth from his terrible cauldron of opinions, and pronounced that the All Blacks’ victory belied “glaring problems”.

Somehow they all missed a story; one that’s been staring them in the face for two weeks. Distracted by the on-field moments of elation and frustration, nobody has investigated the Welsh and New Zealand coaching boxes’ transformations into literally the most miserable places on Earth.

Look at any given shot from the first two tests. No matter what’s happening on the pitch, the boxes emit a palpable tide of despair. This is Steve Hansen with his side up 3, 6 minutes into game one.

Hansen Game 1

He looks like he’s staring into the eyes of the person he hates most in the world.

It’s the happiest he ever appears. Here Hansen considers every one of his failures at once.

Hansen Game 1 3

Before giving up dejected, ever alone.

Hansen Game 1 2

It’s no better in the opposing box, where Warren Gatland always looks like he’s simultaneously receiving news he’s losing his job and his wife is leaving him.

Gatland Game 1 2

Minutes later, he appears to peer through the veil of tears at death’s bony beckoning claw.

Gatland Game 1

It isn’t all down to the scoreboard. This is Gatland with his side unexpectedly in front in game two, generating a destructive tsunami of negative energy. If scientists want to find more definitive proof of the existence of dark matter, they need to look inside the Welsh coach’s mind at this moment.

Gatland Game 2

A rare split screen proves both men have been infested with the gloaming.

Coaches 1 860

These are not the faces of men who like rugby, or anything else in this cold, dark world. While their teams play out a tribute to human aspiration – the possibilities of the human body – they are a signpost on our road to ruin, a stark reminder of the black joke of our existence, and a haunting warning for anyone who aspires to follow them to the upper echelons of the coaching profession.

Enjoy the game tomorrow everyone!

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