Roar talk: Former Lions on how to tackle the Boks

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bill Beaumont (England lock) Lion in 1977 and 1980 (as captain).

Even though my main worry is the physicality of the South Africans, who are a big side, I think we'll be better than them in the scrums, which is a key area. The Lions' scrum will be good, with Gethin Jenkins and Euan Murray looking like the No 1 props, although I do remember 12 years ago when everyone expected Graham Rowntree and Jason Leonard to be starting and we ended up with Tom Smith and Paul Wallace. It will be difficult for us to win, and it is absolutely imperative for us to win the first Test in Durban. But Ian McGeechan has gone about it the right way, giving everyone a chance to get in the Test side, and that's a good start.

Phil Bennett (Wales fly-half) Lion in 1974 and 1977.

I think the first Test in Durban will be absolutely crucial. It'll be steamy and humid – I never played a match in the cold there – but it is not at altitude and if we lose this one we'll be in big trouble. Hopefully, by then Geech will have got his side fixed as he wants, with no injuries. I saw this Irish lad Luke Fitzgerald a couple of years ago, when he was 18, and have always liked him. Quick on his feet and delightful the way he plays. I'm hoping we can get enough ball out to the likes of him, Shane Williams and Tommy Bowe to do their stuff. I honestly think we can do it and I'll tip the Lions to win 2-1.

Scott Hastings (Scotland centre) Lion in 1989 and 1993.

Teamwork will be key, and Ian McGeechan has nailed his colours to the mast with a cohesive responsibility that wasn't there in 2005. For me, though, it is just as important for the senior players to really step up – the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, who is in a rich vein of form. Paul O'Connell must dominate the line-out, Euan Murray must fulfil his promise, and Martyn Williams, if he gets the nod on the flank, must bring all his nous to bear. My heart rules my head when I think the Lions will win. Put it this way: let's get to 1-1 in the Tests and take it from there.

Paul Wallace (Ireland prop) Lion in 1997.

People in South Africa have already written the Lions off, just as they did in 1997. We just need a few young guys to break through, like [Harlequins wing] Ugo Monye, who's improving all the time. Rob Kearney of Leinster was lucky to get the nod ahead of Delon Armitage but Geech will give him the licence to run, and he's a very exciting runner who could be world-class. I'm going for 2-1 to the Lions.

Jeremy Guscott (England centre) Lion in 1989, 1993 and 1997.

I am confident the Lions can win, but you can't underestimate South Africa's collective will. They are already legends in their own country and they will want to achieve what their 1995 world champions couldn't – by beating the Lions. Looking at the Lions' centres, Riki Flutey stands out because he is a different player, but the South African back row will be running up that channel all day long. You may need a Jamie Roberts instead to shore up the defence. Brian O'Driscoll will be massive – he is in that frame of mind.

Willie John McBride (Ireland lock) Lion in 1962, 1966, 1968, 1971 and 1974 (as captain).

South Africa is not an easy place to play and it's not an easy place to win. They're the world champions for a start, and they and New Zealand have a different attitude to winning. They don't talk about losing, they only talk about winning. We have the right management and the right support around the coach and manager. We've got to get the attitude right.