Lions Test side will be 'untried' says McGeechan

Head coach Ian McGeechan has revealed he is unlikely to give his British and Irish Lions Test team a trial run before their opening showdown against world champions South Africa.

McGeechan's side to face the Sharks on Wednesday night features probable Test combinations in centres Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts, plus a back row of Tom Croft, David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip.



There is also a first chance together for possible Test locks Paul O'Connell and Alun-Wyn Jones, but McGeechan insists the selection race towards Durban on June 20 will be allowed to run its full course.



And that might even mean some Test starters playing part of tomorrow week's Port Elizabeth appointment with the Southern Kings.



"The main thing had been to get everyone playing in those first three games. Now, in the next three games it is to keep looking at some of the combinations," said McGeechan.



"The only other way of doing it is you separate the teams and you say to half the squad 'You are not going to be involved in a Test match,' and I am not prepared to do that.



"We will try to get combinations together but, as a XV, it is unlikely they will play as a XV before the Test match.



"It's got to be about us and what we want to try and be come first Test day. There are some risks, I am aware of that, but I think what we get out of it as a squad far outweighs that.



"As far as I am concerned, we have to be fair to the players and have to construct everything we are doing that is using everybody.



"As coaches and players, we have to be very focused in our understanding of what we are trying to bring to that first Test match. Everyone has a role to play in that."



Four players who started Saturday's tense 26-24 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein - O'Connell, Lee Byrne, Shane Williams and Luke Fitzgerald - are back for more.



Other strong Test contenders, meanwhile, look set to feature against Western Province in Cape Town next Saturday, including wings Tommy Bowe and Ugo Monye, plus fly-half Stephen Jones.



"If someone had said we would get to game four with three wins and everyone playing, I would probably have bitten their hand off," added McGeechan, who only has flanker Martyn Williams currently unavailable because of injury.



"I want all the players to give me a selection headache. The fewer easy choices I have to make, the better.



"If you've got only six games to your first Test match, the chances are you might only play twice or three times. What is important is the time they are getting together on the training field.



"If you were saying to me now 'Pick a Test team,' I would be doing it on the back of one game that a player has played, in some cases. I don't think that is fair to the players.



"I know we can't change the number of games going into the first Test.



"I just think it is more important that each player gets a genuine go - at least twice - to put his own game on the field."



The Sharks will be without 10 of their Springboks for Wednesday's game, but international forwards like Jannie du Plessis, Deon Carstens and Johann Muller might all start in what could prove the unbeaten Lions' toughest game so far.



"Regardless of scorelines, we are going to go out there and have a go," said Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford.



"It's a wonderful opportunity and we want to get out there and play attacking rugby.



"We don't want to be conservative because most of us won't ever get the opportunity to be involved against the Lions again."



The Lions, meanwhile, have announced that Neil Jenkins is to join them in South Africa as kicking coach.



Jenkins, who scored more than 1,000 points for Wales and the Lions during his international career, is expected to link up with the tourists in Cape Town later this week.



Jenkins' goalkicking underpinned the Lions' Test series triumph against the Springboks in 1997.



He has just arrived back home after Wales' successful North America tour, where he was part of the coaching staff alongside Robin McBryde and Sean Holley.



Lions manager Gerald Davies said: "We found out that Neil was going to be in South Africa during the latter stages of the tour.



"Therefore, the coaching staff thought it would be a good idea to ask him to become involved with the squad as kicking coach when he was here."



McGeechan added: "We did not appoint a kicking coach initially as Rob Howley and Shaun Edwards have experience in this area and have adequately taken responsibility for looking after the kickers.



"However, when someone of Neil's ability is available, and on hand, it would be foolish not to take advantage of it.



"If anyone knows about what is required in terms of general kicking and goalkicking in South Africa, it is Neil."



News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?