Lions bin prelim squad

British and Irish Lions head coach Ian McGeechan has opted against naming a preliminary squad for their tour of South Africa.

McGeechan was widely expected to next week announce 60-65 players who would then be slashed to the touring squad of 30-35 after the Six Nations. Instead he will now work closely with the coaches of the Home Unions (England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland) to determine the best squad, before announcing his touring party in April.

“We want to ensure that all players continue to see they have a chance of playing themselves into contention for the final squad that we will be announcing in April, as planned,” McGeechan said.

“Selection of the tour party is the most important element of the tour, as far as I am concerned. I want to ensure that we have every opportunity to make the best selection decisions and that we utilise expertise from outside the group, such as the national coaches of the home nations, to select the final group of players that will represent the British Isles in South Africa.”

The Lions tour commences on 30 May with a fixture against the Highveld XV and is followed by nine matches, including three Tests.