Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Arise Sir Geech

24th December 2009 07:53


old school Ian McGeechan

Ian McGeechan: 1974 Lions tour to South Africa

British and Irish Lions Head Coach Ian McGeechan is to be knighted in the New Year's Honours list for his services to rugby.

A veteran of seven Lions tours - two as a player and five as a coach - "Geech" has become a Lions icon.

The Leeds-born Scot was awarded an OBE in 1990 after coaching Scotland to a sensational victory over England in that famous Grand Slam decider.

He follows in the footsteps of England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward in being knighted.

The Lions might have fallen short of a series victory in South Africa in 2009, but McGeechan will be remembered for his successes as Head Coach in Australia (1989) and South Africa (1997).

He also played for the 1974 "Invincibles" on their victorious tour of South Africa.

"People ask me if coaching was in my blood," he wrote in his autobiography, Lion Man.

"Probably. I suppose I was never the sort of player who simply switched off after a game and forgot the rugby. I loved to think about how individual players and teams could have performed better.

"Whatever coaching groups I have been part of, one of the great delights has been the conversations, the sharing of ideas, the boot room of rugby life."

International Playing career

Scotland: 32 appearances (debut 1972), nine as captain

British & Irish Lions: 1974 -South Africa; 1977 -New Zealand

International Coaching career

Scotland: Assistant coach -1986-1988; Head coach -1988-1994; 1990 -Won Five Nations and Grand Slam

British & Irish Lions: Head coach

1989 -Australia

1993 -New Zealand

1997 -South Africa

2009 -South Africa Assistant coach

2005 -New Zealand