Davies named 2009 Lions Manager

Ex-Wales wing Gerald Davies has been appointed manager for the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. Davies is 62 and won 46 Wales caps and five Lions caps in his international career which lasted between 1966 and 1978.

Davies was a Lion himself in 1968 and 1971, takes on the role held by Bill Beaumont in New Zealand in 2005 and Donal Lenihan in Australia in 2001.

There is change at the top too as former Scotland full-back Andy Irvine, a Lion on three occasions, has been appointed chairman of the Lions board. This has come about as Bill Beaumont stood down due to his International Rugby Board (IRB) commitments.

Mr. Irvine is a former President of the Scottish Rugby Union and a former Scottish International. As full back for Scotland, he won 51 caps, 1972-82. He also played for the Lions against South Africa (1974), New Zealand (1977) and South Africa (1980).

The Lions hope to announce a head coach after the Six Nations next year, with Eddie O’Sullivan and Ian McGeechan two front-runners.

O’Sullivan is thought believed to have a clause in his contract that was renewed with the Irish Rugby Football Union just before the World cup allowing him to take time off to coach the Lions. His reputation is thought to have taken a knock after Ireland’s dismal World cup showing.

In stark contrast to O’Sullivan’s position is Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan who has coached the Lions three times before – in 1989, 1993 and in 1997 when the Lions were victorious on their last South African tour.

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