Lions Legend Sir Ian McGeechan Names His Lions XV

Lions Legend Sir Ian McGeechan Names His Lions XV

Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan has named his Lions XV that should face the Springboks in 2021 and doesn't believe Wales skipper Alun Wyn should make the starting XV, but feels he still has a huge role to play in off-field matters.

McGeechan was a player on the iconic 1974 tour to South Africa and 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.

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 named three 'fullbacks' in his back three with Stuart Hogg at 15, Anthony Watson at right wing and Liam Williams on the left. He has picked a formidable midfield in Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Davies with Owen Farrell and Gareth Davies the halfback partners.
Two Scotsman make the pack with Rory Sutherland at loosehead and Jamie Ritchie at blindside. Sutherland is joined in the front row with Jamie George and Tadgh Furlong with Maro Itoje and James Ryan in the engine room. 
England pair Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola complete McGeechan's powerhouse pack.

McGeechan argued that although the likes of Scotland's Sam Johnson and Robbie Henshaw would have their backers, Jonathan Davies has earned his stripes in the Lions' jersey on previous tours.

"He'd be my pick, if fit. If he's not, it's likely to be Henry Slade," McGeechan said.

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.

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Sir Ian McGeechan's Lions XV: Stuart Hogg (Scotland); Anthony Watson (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Manu Tuilagi (England); Liam Williams (Wales); Owen Farrell (England), Gareth Davies (Wales); Rory Sutherland (Scotland), Jamie George (England), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), James Ryan (Ireland), Jamie Ritchie (Scotland), Tom Curry (England), Billy Vunipola (England).


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