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McBride And Galwey Back McGeechan Appointment

McBride And Galwey Back McGeechan Appointment

Two former Ireland captains, Willie John McBride and Mick Galwey, have given their support to the appointment of Ian McGeechan as British & Irish Lions head coach for the 2009 tour to South Africa.

McGeechan, the wily Scot who is currently director of rugby at London Wasps, was confirmed as the latest Lions coach on Wednesday.

The former Scotland and Northampton coach is vastly experienced, having been involved in six previous Lions tours – twice as a player (1974 and 1977), once as assistant coach (2005) and three times as head coach (1987, 1993 and 1997).

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Hailing ‘Geech’ as the obvious choice, Ireland and Lions legend Willie John McBride told Setanta Sports News: “When one looks around the four countries, it was difficult to go for anyone else. I have known Ian for many years, particularly from 1974 when we went to South Africa as players.

“He has come through the amateur era, but has proved that he is a good professional as well as an administrator and as a coach. He has also been in the shadows in previous Lions tours, as one of the unsung heroes.”

McBride, the holder of a record 17 Lions Test caps, added: “Ian has the qualities of man-management. Players know what their job is, and players (on the fringes) know why they have not been selected. He has proved those qualities over the years.”

Having played under McGeechan during the 1993 tour to New Zealand, former Ireland skipper Mick Galwey is well-placed to judge the coaching merits of the 61-year-old.

“I was lucky enough to play under him back then. That was the last of the amateur tours and he has great experience there,” the Kerryman told Newstalk. 

“What I really noticed about Ian McGeechan was that he was able to get everybody together. When you get a bunch of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English lads in the one room, you obviously need somebody very strong to pull the whole thing together.

“Ian McGeechan has done that on numerous occasions. I think he’ll have a great team around him for the tour and a real chance of winning in South Africa.”