â00I can think back to my time, green and wide eyed, when I played for the Lions on South African soil and got to understand their tough mentality, their physical approach to rugby and their tough-as-teak physical presence,â0 said Davies, who was part of the 1968 squad that faced the Springboks three years before creating history with the 1971 Lions in New Zealand.
â00I can also think of their subtle talents and the speed and determination with which they pursue a chase. I recognise the pride they have in the national team, the Springboks. They love rugby with a fervour and a passion in South Africaâ0¦but then so do we.â0
Davies sat alongside Lions coaches Ian McGeechan, Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree for the highly-anticipated announcement as he finally put an end to months of speculation regarding the make up of the latest Lions squad.
â00The guessing game played up and down the country for the past few months while the search has been going on for the Lions capable of taking on South Africa is over,â0 explained Davies.
â00The very name, the Lions, conjures up a great sporting event. Now it is about the last great rugby adventure â00 one team, one philosophy and one jersey.â0
Manager, captain and coach at the Lions squad announcement in London
If there is one man who embodies that Lions philosophy more than most, it is head coach McGeechan. A winning tourist as a player in 1974 and as a coach in 1989 and 1997, McGeechan feels the class of 2009 have what it takes to emulate those memorable achievements.
â00Our task was to get the combinations, chemistry and character together that is so important for a touring party,â0 said McGeechan, who tasted series success the last time the Lions were in South Africa.
â00Selection has come around quickly actually. Weâ00ve had a process going properly since January and weâ00ve had meetings during the Six Nations and obviously after that as well.
â00We were keeping an open mind on some of the players and thatâ00s meant we were able to watch them live, which I think is important. Thatâ00s helped clarify some of our thinking for the combinations.
â00The final selection was only confirmed yesterday (Monday) and with the squad in place we selected Paul Oâ00Connell to lead the team. He is a very special character who will give us the impetus we will need.â0