British and Irish lion’s guru Sir Ian McGeechan chose the man he thinks should lead the South African tour next year, scorning Welsh favorite Alun Wyn Jones and English Owen Farrell. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
The Scotsman was the head coach of the British and Irish Lions in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2009. In 2005, he trained halfway through the week on tour to New Zealand. Although there is uncertainty surrounding the tour, “Geech” believes that choosing the captain is a simpler task.
“Predicting who Gatland could select as captain, however, takes less guesswork, McGeechan writes in his Telegraph column. To be honest, I think there are probably only three genuine contenders: Owen Farrell, Alun Wyn Jones, and Maro Itoje.”
Crucially, he does not believe that Alun Wyn Jones is a certainty, to begin with, effectively ruling the Welsh out of the role. Jones is not sure of his starting point. He will be 35 years old by next summer and the competition in the lock is fierce.
“James Ryan has really moved on and would start with him and Itoje together at the lock if the first test were tomorrow.”
Itoje, at least, is a certain opener. One of the few on the team. And I think that is important. You can argue that you have a tour captain and a test captain, but I think the key moments of a tour come in the melting pot of the test match arenas, so that’s where you want your tour; your emissary in the field.
“Itoje is a player that I admire tremendously, said McGeechan, who studied the lock game in England. What you see is an intelligent player who reads the game well, places himself in key positions at key moments in the game, to slow down or accelerate as needed.”
McGeechan believes that the loss of the Saracens’ lockdown in the Rugby World Cup final will have taught him long before a tour in which the Springboks will seek to physically intimidate tourists. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website.
“He certainly is a player that I would love to have coached. Technically and physically, Itoje is designed for modern gaming; hit the rucks with precision and create turnovers, if you lose it will punish you and you have good hands. But, above all, his uncompromising attitude stands out. Itoje is incredibly competitive.”
The Lions guru believes Itoje would demand respect from his teammates on the tour. “Everyone has been against him by club and country and they know what it is about. Itoje is the type of player you want to play with instead of against it. Martin Johnson was the same, a nightmare to play against.”
McGeechan admits that Owen Farrell, many people’s favorite for the captain, is doing a good job with England, but should let him play without the pressure of the captaincy. Latter month McGeechan selected a British and Irish Lions, XV, for next year’s South African tour, which rugby enthusiasts will find it very difficult to discuss.
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