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The word on Geech

Ian McGeechan (right) celebrates the Lions victory in South Africa in 1997 with Jeremy Guscott
McGeechan (right) celebrates the Lions' series victory in South Africa in 1997 with Jeremy Guscott
Ian McGeechan has been confirmed as head coach for the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

The Wasps director of rugby has already performed the role on three previous tours, in 1989, '93 and '97, as well as working with the unbeaten midweek team on the 2005 tour.

McGeechan was also a Lion twice as a player, in 1974 and '77, so is no stranger to the concept of bringing together the elite from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Here's a selection of views on the 61-year-old Scot from some of those who have played under, alongside or against him, as well as your own thoughts on the 606 messageboards.

MATT DAWSON - THREE-TIMES LIONS TOURIST IN 1997, 2001 & 2005

"There is no question that Geech's Lions pedigree is absolutely top drawer. There are not many other candidates out there who could get anywhere close to his level of experience and coaching.

"Even in 2005 when the first team was getting beaten by New Zealand in the Tests, the midweek side were not only winning games but forging the camaraderie and friendship that is imperative for a successful Lions tour.

"I think it was proved in 2001 when Graham Henry took the Lions to Australia that unless you fully understand and embrace what the British and Irish Lions is all about, you are going to struggle.

"It is not about coaching, or teaching these individuals how to pass and kick the ball - they are the elite of British and Irish rugby.

"It is about co-ordinating these guys together and putting them in an environment where they can go into the world champions' backyard and beat them. Those individuals chosen have an amazing opportunity to go there and take the Springboks' scalp."

GARETH EDWARDS - THREE-TIMES LIONS TOURIST IN 1968, '71 & '74

"I know the quality of the man, he's proven it as a coach and he knows exactly what's required for the Lions ethos.

"Ian McGeechan has got all the qualities, all the credentials - he has been there, done it and was very much the leading candidate."

WILL GREENWOOD - THREE-TIMES LIONS TOURIST IN '97, 2001 & '05

"In 1997, with Geech and Jim Telfer as coaches, it was a good cop, bad cop routine.

"Geech is an innovator, a thinker, and a great selector. He knows how important it is to give guys the feeling that they are in with a chance of making the Test team.

"He is a very friendly chap with it. He is stern when he needs to be, and knows what he wants to get out of players. But he is so knowledgeable and a great bloke to chew the fat with."

GAVIN HASTINGS - TWO-TIME LIONS TOURIST IN 1989 & 1993 (CAPT)

"It just feels right that in this instance Geech is there. He is a very astute, clever and experienced man. He commands huge respect.

"It's funny. I just smile when the name Ian McGeechan gets mentioned in a Lions context because he has become so synonymous with the Lions."

SPRINGBOK COACH PETER DE VILLIERS

"Ian was the natural choice, he is one of the premier thinkers in the game. He has a rich and successful history with the Lions, and he boasts a very proud record as a player, assistant coach and coach.

"We in South Africa will remember what he achieved back in 1997 when his Lions side beat the Springboks 2-1, and quite clearly we must prepare for a similarly drilled and well-prepared side."

GARY TEICHMANN - SOUTH AFRICA CAPTAIN FOR 1997 LIONS SERIES

"Ian brought a team here that was underestimated and not expected to do well, but he managed to get them to gel together, which showed his capabilities. Stronger British Lions teams have not been able to do that."

CAREL DU PLESSIS - 1997 SPRINGBOK COACH

"Ian is an experienced coach, he's been there and been successful. It will be very valuable that he has been on tour here before."

WHAT YOU SAY ON 606

He is the man to get the Lions mystique back, as it has been eroded somewhat over the last two tours and by the onset of professionalism. McZinzan

Great choice of coach...I just hope the boys all stay injury-free in the lead up to the tour. tiptopBarry-John

606: DEBATE
dazzlingdublinblue

It's a great appointment obviously - Shaun Edwards will surely come with him and the Lions will have the best team possible. funnyExiledScot

Hope Warren Gatland is involved along with Shaun Edwards, and perhaps Craig White and Rob Howley. These guys know each other and get along very well. HenleyWasp

Good appointment - Wasps have been hugely successful and are a British club, so very glad to have a British coach for the Lions. rugbytomc




see also
McGeechan given Lions coach role
14 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Lions tour 2009
13 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
McGeechan leads Lions contenders
02 May 08 |  Rugby Union
History of the Lions
02 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
02 May 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment


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