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Thread: British & Irish Lions head coach announced

  1. #1
    Champion Contributor no.8's Avatar
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    Thumbs up British & Irish Lions head coach announced

    Ian McGeechan will lead the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, it was confirmed this morning.



    Wasps director of rugby McGeechan was unveiled as the head coach at a press conference in London.

    The 61-year old Scot has enjoyed a long association with the Lions and has been involved in six previous tours - in 1974 and 1977 as a player, in 2005 an assistant coach and in 1987, 1993 and 1997 as head coach.

    Lions chairman Andy Irvine said: "A Lions tour is very special - even in the modern game they're as popular as ever.

    "Some years ago there was doubt they would even continue but I'm delighted to say they're as popular as ever.

    "Many players have said playing for the Lions is the highlight of their career. And we expect 50,000 fans to travel to South Africa.

    "Once Gerald Davies was appointed tour manager all our attentions focused on who would be the best coach. From day one McGeechan was in our thoughts.

    "We wanted someone with a special bond with the Lions. We looked elsewhere as well but time and again we kept going back to Ian.

    “He's the most successful coach in Lions history."

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    Brother Gallagher I hear you

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    Legend Contributor slomo's Avatar
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    safe pair of hands in mcgeechan, can't wait for the next lions tour to australia. four weeks off work and four weeks on a rugby tour!!

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    McGeechan vows to restore Lions' traditions

    15th May 2008, 10:45 WST


    Coaching guru Ian McGeechan has promised to restore the traditional spirit of the British and Irish Lions when he takes them on tour to South Africa next year.

    The 61-year-old appointed on Wednesday as Lions coach for the fourth time, promised lessons would be learned from the ill-fated 2005 tour, the cream of Home Unions rugby were thrashed 3-0 in a Test series by New Zealand.

    Under England World Cup-winning supremo Sir Clive Woodward, the Lions used 51 players and two separate coaching units three years ago.

    Most damagingly of all, players in the midweek side felt they had little chance of being considered for the Tests because Woodward appeared to have such a pre-conceived idea of his 1st XV.

    McGeechan and fellow former Lions players Andy Irvine and Gerald Davies, now chairman and tour manager respectively, are determined that all players have a fair chance of making the Test team next year.

    Meanwhile McGeechan himself plans to take a squad of just 35 to South Africa with just one coaching group of four or five specialists to help prepare the side to face the world champions.

    “When I spoke to the Lions committee they asked me what my principles are and how I see a tour running,” said McGeechan, who coached the Lions on their victorious tour of South Africa in 1997.

    “The Lions have always been so important to me. The Lions are special and unique. You can't compare them to anything else you do as a British and Irish coach or player.

    “I have a very strong philosophy and some of the traditions are so important to making sure the Lions have a fighting chance of succeeding.

    “I firmly believe you need a very tight group. We will have one coaching team and one group of players.”

    He said: “You have to understand each other and that process is often accelerated if players share rooms because they get to know each other that much better, that much quicker.

    “In 2005 I thought there were a lot of players in British and Irish rugby just coming off their peak. Now we have a lot of players coming towards their peak. It is exciting.”

    McGeechan, a former Scotland back, played all four Tests on the Lions' unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974 and made four more Test appearances in New Zealand three years later.

    He coached the Lions to series victories over Australia in 1989 and eight years later in South Africa but then lost twice against New Zealand, as head coach in 1993 and assistant in 2005.

    However, three years ago McGeechan's midweek team were unbeaten.

    “I enjoyed the group of players I was working with in 2005 and we did go out for a pint midweek when everybody else had disappeared. Maybe in 2009 we will go out for a pint as a whole group,” he laughed.

    But McGeechan will have just six matches before the first Test to unearth hidden gems such as props Paul Wallace and Tom Smith, as well as second row Jeremy Davidson, who all emerged as key players during the Lions' 2-1 series win in South Africa in 1997.

    However, Davies was adamant that everyone on next year's tour would have a shot at the Test side.

    “You can't have players cast aside without that hope,” said the former Wales wing, one of the stars of the first, and so far only, Lions team to win a series in New Zealand back in 1971.

    “If you take that hope away from them, why should they be on the tour in the first place?

    “We bring the traditions of the past to bear on the present.”

    2009 British & Irish Lions fixtures in South Africa
    May 30: v Highveld XV, Rustenburg
    Jun 03: v Golden Lions, Johannesburg
    Jun 06: v Cheetahs, Bloemfontein
    Jun 10: v Sharks, Durban
    Jun 13: v Western Province, Cape Town
    Jun 17: v Coastal XV, Port Elizabeth
    Jun 20: v SOUTH AFRICA, 1ST TEST, Durban
    Jun 23: v Emerging Springboks, Cape Town
    Jun 27: v SOUTH AFRICA, 2ND TEST, Pretoria
    Jul 04: v SOUTH AFRICA, 3RD TEST, Johannesburg

    AFP

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Me loves Ian after his 1997 stint with the Lions.

    For those interested, I recommend watching "Living with Lions", which follows the 1997 Lions tour to SA in which the Lions won the series. Gives you an insight into the runnings of a tour--from player selections/management, training, the coaches and players post match analysis, interviews-- and is a comprehensive 255 minutes of everything.

    One of the best rugby dvds I've ever watched if not The Best.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Do you have a copy KQ, I know few geeks that can copy that stuff

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Will have a look..as you would know with these "classics" you lend it to one who lends it to another and so on..if not currently in possession will follow up and give you a heads up when in safe custody.

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