Ian McGeechan, head coach of the British Lions is famous for those quiet motivational speeches that make you believe you can do anything, thanks to the ‘Living with Lions’ series which covers the victorious 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa. Apart from his tactical nous, I believe it is this ability to motivate his players that makes the former school teacher the most dangerous man in the Lions dressing room.
McGeechan is not called Mr Lions for nothing: the ex-Scottish international played four tests each on the 1974 and 1977 British Lions tours. But it is as a coach that he has truly made his mark: he has been a member of the coaching staff on every British Lions tour since 1989, with the exception of the 2001 tour to Australia.
And ominously for South Africa, some of his greatest moments have come on tours to South Africa. The 1974 “Call of 99” tour on which the Lions remained unbeaten is arguably their finest hour. But the 1997 tour may well be more satisfying for McGeechan, as the chief architect of the victory.
British Lions tour 2009
Which brings us to the current tour. After a full year of preparation, you can bet Geech and his team know the Springbok players and patterns intimately – perhaps better than they themselves!