x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

McGeechan looks at the bigger picture

Ian McGeechan believes the credibility of the British & Irish Lions has been restored after they pushed South Africa so close in a dramatic Test series.

PRETORIA // Ian McGeechan believes the credibility of the British & Irish Lions has been restored after they pushed South Africa so close in a dramatic Test series. But he warned the Lions will only enjoy a successful future if they can receive more active support from the power-brokers of northern hemisphere rugby. After the third and final Test, 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. "The two biggest things in the international calendar are World Cups and Lions tours. 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," McGeechan said. 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 losing 26-21 in the first Test and 28-25 in the second. "We have just watched one of the best Test matches the Lions have played," said McGeechan. "The rugby we have played has been outstanding. We have seen some of the best rugby ever. "To me the Lions in other people's eyes have just got bigger." * PA