PdV ‘advises’ McGeechan

Peter de Villiers has questioned a number of Ian McGeechan’s British & Irish Lions selections.

Springbok coach De Villiers had much advice for McGeechan, who has been involved in six Lions tours as a player and coach from 1974 until their most recent in 2005. 

McGeechan has placed emphasis on picking a physical pack, but De Villiers believes taking on the Boks at their strength would be incorrect.

‘If McGeechan wants to sit down and try to match the Springboks then I think that is the wrong thing,’ De Villiers told the BBC.

De Villiers also encouraged McGeechan to adopt their own game plan.

‘If he wants to say ‘this is our strength, this is how we want to play the game, these are the people who can do the job for me’ then I can justify any selection he has made,’ he said.

‘But I will not sit down and say “they are going to do this, so I should do this”. I am more focused on what I want to do and I will find the talent and the players to do the job for us.’

De Villiers also questioned the leadership in the Lions squad. He re-iterated his surprise at Paul O’Connell’s selection as captain – even though McGeechan has always preferred a leader in the pack – while the omission of Ryan Jones, Mike Blair and Steve Borthwick also confused him.

‘The one thing that surprised me was that the leaders of three home nations weren’t included in the squad,’ said De Villiers. ‘The guys that play under those guys respect them.

‘Those are the guys that can stand up in meetings and try to resolve small niggles and things that can evolve on a long tour like this.’

‘Brian O’Driscoll was the captain of the last Lions team, even though he got injured, and he was the captain of the most successful Six Nations team this year.’