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McGeechan To Lead The British & Irish Lions

McGeechan To Lead The British & Irish Lions

Ian McGeechan has been appointed as head coach for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2009. His appointment was widely heralded and was confirmed at an announcement on Wednesday morning.

McGeechan belongs to a small, select group of people who have played for and coached the British & Irish Lions. His track record is unmatched, even among this elite group. 

With two Lions tours as a player in 1974 (South Africa – four Tests) and 1977 (New Zealand – four Tests), three tours as head coach in 1989 (Australia), 1993 (New Zealand) and 1997 (South Africa), and the 2005 tour as assistant coach, Ian McGeechan is the most experienced Lions coach of all time.

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His record speaks for itself, with one tour victory as player and two as head coach.

Andy Irvine, Chairman of the Lions Board, said: “We are honoured to have Ian as the 2009 head coach. His wealth of experience at national and club levels is an incredible asset and his Lions pedigree is unrivalled. 

“Indeed, this will be Ian’s seventh Lions tour. My colleagues on the board and I are delighted that he made himself available for selection and were unanimous in his appointment. We are very confident that he can lead the 2009 Lions to a truly memorable series win against the world champions.”

Ian McGeechan said: “The Lions are a unique sporting concept. It’s about a group of rugby players from four different countries coming together and forming a tight-knit group within a very short time frame. 

“It is a huge challenge and a great honour to be involved again. I will endeavour to create the right environment for this team to blossom and perform in the short time that we are together.”

McGeechan is the second appointment for the South African tour after the appointment of Gerald Davies as tour manager in November of last year.

For more information on the British & Irish Lions, tour fixtures and other news, please visit www.lionsrugby.com.