Sir Ian McGeechan is the world’s leading authority on the British and Irish Lions – particularly when it comes to touring South Africa. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
He was a player on their iconic 1974 tour, returned as coach in the 1997 Lions triumph that has gone into rugby folklore and was coach again for the brutal 2009 showdown with the world champions.
So when the respected TV pundit names his best XV to take on the 2019 Rugby World Cup winners next summer under coach Warren Gatland, his views carry more weight than most.
McGeechan told the BBC South Africa is the most unique of Lions tours, with intimidating crowds and relentless physicality, meaning you need what he dubs ‘Test-Match Animals’.
“You’re looking for a player who has another level he can go to mentally and technically under pressure,” says McGeechan. With that in mind, McGeechan has gone for the 15 ‘special players’ he hopes Gatland will pick for his Lions next summer.
MCGeechan has Stuart Hogg at full-back and Anthony Watson on the other wing, with no room for Wales’ man of the moment Josh Adams. In the center he plumps for Wales’ Jonathan Davies and England battering ram Manu Tuilagi. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
McGeechan argues that although the likes of Scotland’s Sam Johnson and Robbie Henshaw would have their backers, Davies has earned his stripes being the Lions’ best player in New Zealand and in eye-catching form during Wales’ 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam.
“He’d be my pick, if fit. If he’s not, it’s likely to be Henry Slade,” McGeechan says of Davies. McGeechan’s three outside-halves to make the trip are Owen Farrell, Dan Biggar and Finn Russell and though he starts with the England skipper, he believes the other two will have big roles to play.
“Farrell and Biggar can manage a game behind a struggling pack, so they’ll be very important. Finn just gives you something very different. It would be fascinating to see him on a Lions tour from the start,” says McGeechan.
He names a short-list of four for the scrum-half jersey with Gareth Davies and Rhys Webb name-checked with Conor Murray and Ali Price. And on choosing the Scarlets No.9 as his choice, Geech said: “If I had to call it, I’d say Davies. He’s a terrific player.”
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