McGeechan outlines plan for British & Irish Lions tour

Ian McGeechan has outlined the back-to-basics approach that he hopes can inspire the British and Irish Lions to a series victory over South Africa next year.

After taking charge of the Lions for a record fourth time, head coach McGeechan is determined to restore the the tourists’ unique ethos and move away from the style that was adopted by Sir Clive Woodward that failed to produce results.

When the Lions were last in South Africa in 1997 McGeechan enjoyed an historic victory after he merged a disparate group into a real force against the then world champions.

The 61-year-old Wasps director of rugby said: “The Lions tour is so unique that you have to do things differently to anything you else you do simply because you are preparing for three Test matches in something like four weeks.

“Sharing rooms is one of the things which has worked very well on Lions tours.

“It helps break down the barriers and I think it is as important to understand as much about each off the field so they can have a real confidence on the field.” he told Sportal.

“Some players like there own quiet corners – other prefer to be social – but I think the most important thing is that everyone understand the characters that make the up squad.

“I think the Lions are seen by the Springboks and the All Blacks as the biggest rugby team that they will ever play.

“That’s the added responsibility you take on and it is far more than a national jersey simply by what is attached to it by other countries.

“Players often don’t know each other well.

“That is why it is important the players get to know each other and get the chemistry right and I think that will grow in the Lions environment.”

McGeechan said he was ‘honoured’ by comparisons with fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson which had been made during the week.

“I am very flattered – he is a man I hugely respect,” he told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“What he has achieved in his time at Old Trafford are quite incredible and to be mentioned in the same breath is a huge honour.”

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