McGeechan demands Lions backing

Ian McGeechan has called on the power-brokers of northern hemisphere rugby to throw their full support behind the British and Irish Lions.

McGeechan is proud of the fact he has managed to restore the credibility of the Lions after they pushed world champions South Africa so close in a dramatic Test series.



Despite their heroic performance in Saturday's 28-25 defeat to the Springboks, the Lions have now lost a record seven successive Tests in the southern hemisphere.



After the Test series is over next weekend, McGeechan and tour manager Gerald Davies will compile a detailed report of what is required to give the Lions their best chance of victory over Australia in 2013.



It will contain some strong and forceful language.



"I just wish more of those people who don't want to make time for the Lions would come out and experience a Lions tour because I don't think they understand the impact. For the players they represent they should make it work," said McGeechan.



"The two biggest things in the international calendar are World Cups and Lions tours. If we could respect that then I think that preparation can help the next coach.



"For the professional player, this is what he wants to do. This is where he wants to be. This is the shirt he wants to wear.



"Going forward we have got to make that easier to happen. By doing that you make the preparation easier to win a Test series. That is to everybody's advantage.



"Whether it is Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, give the Lions a fair crack.



"The important thing is to get everyone to agree that in a Lions season, just as in a World Cup season, you make adjustments to the season for the players."



The Lions tackled the world champion Springboks after just five weeks together having had no break between the end of the club season and the first tour match, at altitude, on May 30.



In the end they fell just short.



South Africa withstood a Lions fightback to win the first Test 26-21 and then snatched the series with a 28-25 victory last night, sealed with a 54 metre penalty from the final kick of the game.



"We have just watched one of the best Test matches the Lions have played," said McGeechan.



"We have had two cracking Test matches. People say, 'Are the Lions valuable'?



"The rugby we have played has been outstanding. We have seen some of the best rugby ever.



"I think there has been a lot of credibility brought back to the Lions on this tour. To me the Lions in other people's eyes have just got bigger."



Four years ago in New Zealand, Sir Clive Woodward attempted to reinvent the concept of a Lions tour and failed as the All Blacks completed a 3-0 Test series victory.



The Springboks may go on to repeat the scoreline in Johannesburg next weekend given the Lions had five players in hospital after yesterday's bruising encounter.



But McGeechan believes the Lions have still achieved something special on this tour, by rekindling the spirit and ethos of old.



"I think this has been as good an atmosphere on a Lions tour as I have experienced," said McGeechan, whose Lions association dates back seven tours to 1974.



"I am hugely proud of what has been achieved and we will take that into the third Test."



BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate