British & Irish Lions

Lions legend picks starting XV he reckons will beat Springboks

Ian McGeechan (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ian McGeechan (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan
  • Former British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan has picked a starting XV he reckons can beat the Springboks on next year's tour.
  • The team features seven Englishmen, three from Wales, three Scots and two Irishmen.
  • He has picked England lock Maro Itoje as tour captain.


Legendary former British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan has picked a starting XV he thinks will be able to beat the Springboks in next year’s tour to South Africa.

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In an interview with The Telegraph, McGeechan said he picked players "who will stand up and be counted".

The team features seven Englishmen, three from Wales, two Irishmen and three from McGeechan's homeland Scotland.

His captain for the tour is England lock Maro Itoje.

"I think the Lions could really build a head of steam under him. He's a winner and a natural leader," he said of Itoje.

McGeechan is a Lions legend, having been the head coach in the 1989 (Australia), 1993 (New Zealand), 1997 (South Africa) and 2009 (South Africa) tours and as a player in 1974 (South Africa) and 1977 (New Zealand).

The former flyhalf/centre was part of the 1974 Lions team that won the series 3-0 in South Africa and coached the Lions to a 2-1 series win over the Springboks in 1997, before losing by the same margin in 2009.

The Lions are slated to play eight matches in South Africa next year. The first Test is scheduled for FNB Stadium on 24 July 2021, the second for Cape Town Stadium (31 July) and the third for Ellis Park (7 August).

Ian McGeechan's Lions starting XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Anthony Watson (England), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Manu Tuilagi (England), 11 Liam Williams (Wales), 10 Owen Farrell (England), 9 Gareth Davies (Wales), 8 Billy Vunipola (England), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Jamie Ritchie (Scotland), 5 Jame Ryan (Ireland), 4 Maro Itoje (England, captain), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Jamie George (England), 1 Rory Sutherland (Scotland)

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