In an extract from his book The Lions, When the Going Gets Tough which was serialised in Telegraph, Sir Ian McGeechan ran the rule over the best fifteen to play under him, but begins with an apology to those that he has left out:
“There were many difficult decisions here, and I hope that those omitted understand how marginal some of the calls were, but what I am certain of is that I would not have minded coaching this side. But then again I loved coaching all my Lions teams.
“It was always an honour and a pleasure. I have been very lucky.”
The Lions legend selected an interesting combination of the four nations, but it is still one that it is dominated somewhat by England. In all seven English players make the team (the majority of which are forwards), with three each from Wales and Scotland, and two from Ireland.
- 15. Gavin Hastings (Scotland) – “He was strong under the high ball, could kick the ball a mile and was really strong in the contract, where you could play off him.”
- 14. Ieuan Evans (Wales) – “A favourite of mine who went on three Lions tours in 1989, 1993 and 1997. He was a lethal finisher.”
- 11. Tommy Bowe (Ireland) – “His influence on the games in 2009 was massive. He has speed and power, and of all the wingers I have seen he cuts the best lines and he does it so late, too,”
- 13. Jeremy Guscott (England) – “He was the runner but had the toughness too,”
- 12. Scott Gibbs (Wales) – “There are not too many backs who have total respect from the forwards, but Gibbsy was one of them. His physical work was huge.”