Ian McGeechan: Lions need to be tactically perfect to win

The former coach believes it is one of the most talented Lions squads ever assembled

BY Simon Maguire 18:06 Tuesday 25 April 2017, 18:06 25 Apr 2017

Ian McGeechan in 2009. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Former Lions coach Ian McGeechan is expecting an exciting test series this summer but insists the touring squad need to be tactically sound if they are do what many believe impossible.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: "I have no doubt that the rugby the Lions produce this summer will be exciting and high quality because of the calibre of player going. Yes, there are some big men in the squad. And clearly it is going to be a hugely physical battle. But I think only two of them are probably not what you would call natural ball carriers.

"Pretty much everyone can carry and offload and pass. The talent and versatility available to Gatland is unquestioned; it is probably the most talented Lions squad in a long time," he added. 

The Lions last toured New Zealand in 2005 and were "blackwashed" 3-0 in the test series and the Scotsman believes the tourists will need a solid game-plan as well as brute strength if they are to down the back-to-back world champions in their own back yard. 

 A dejected Lions team with Paul O'Connell in the centre in 2005. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"Strong players will be needed in New Zealand, that is a given. But clever players will beat the All Blacks, not goliaths – remember, they play South Africa twice a year," he said.

"Developing a robust, accurate, dynamic game plan by the time of that first Test on June 24 is well within the Lions' capabilities. They have done it before and will do so again."

The Lions are due to receive an official welcome at the historic birthplace of New Zealand in Waitangi before the first of the tour's matches on June 3rd.  

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