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Win a copy of Ian McGeechan’s Lions book

He regards Johnson, captain in 1997 and 2001, as the greatest example of a Test-match animal he has seen. And there is love too for Jason Leonard, the ultimate Lion for his selfless desire to do everything he could for the cause despite the pain of unexpected exclusion from the 1997 Test side.

Ghosted by Steve James, McGeechan’s book concludes with two Lions XVs – one comprising people he played with on Lions tours and the other those he coached.

The first is simply the team for the 1974 third Test en bloc, and why not? They were invincible, after all.

The second Lions XV is trickier. Jerry Guscott or Brian O’Driscoll? Dawson or Mike Phillips? Brian Moore or Keith Wood? Geech will doubtless be relieved that such decisions are merely for the pages of a book.

The publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, have kindly provided us with six copies to give away.
win a copy of when the going gets tough

Seven Lions tours across 35 years, the first two as a player, make Sir Ian McGeechan’s contribution to British & Irish rugby a unique one. So when he presents a blueprint for a victorious Lions team, you listen.

When the going gets tough reflects the wisdom gained from his successful tours of 1974, 1989, 1997 and 2009, plus the failures of 1977, 1993 and 2005. The 2009 trip counts as a success despite the series being lost because the Lions’ good name was restored after the previous tour had gone so spectacularly astray, both in results and ethos.

The lessons are many and varied. Every player needs to get an early chance to prove himself, so waiting until match four to give Matt Dawson a start in 2005 was wrong.

Establishing a single style for both midweek or Saturday teams is critical, so that players can move seamlessly between the sides and so that everyone is working towards the number one objective – a game plan that will win the Test series.

Relationships – with the captain, with coaches, with the media – matter. So do ‘boot-room’ chats where you just talk rugby and flesh out ideas. ‘Geech’ had Finlay Calder and Martin Johnson sitting in selection meetings because he valued their opinions. “They knew whom they wanted to rub shoulders with,” he says.

The initial squad selection is vital too, and should be based more on players’ characters than technical ability. Geech regrets not being more forceful in selection discussions for the 1993 tour, when some of the eight Scots chosen shouldn’t have been there.

Significantly by 1997 he had two wildcards – giving him the power to disagree with up to two of the final choices.

The pinnacle of Durban

New Zealand’s 1996 series win in South Africa provided lots of lessons, such as the need to take a bigger squad and be in control of your own equipment. The Lions’ second-Test triumph in Durban the following year is his fondest rugby memory, the Springboks having been 1-5 favourites to win the series.

To enter: For your chance to win go to the competition website, answer this question – Which player does Ian McGeechan wish he had chosen for the first Lions Test against South Africa in 2009? – and enter your details

Enter by : 31/07/2017

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See competition website for full terms and conditions.

Promoted By: Rugby World

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