All in all Millar made 39 Lions appearances, including nine Tests, and took part in some capacity or other in an astonishing nine Lions tours spread over 42 years.
And, just as in 1959, 1962 and 1968 when Millar was a Lions tourist, places on the plane to South Africa will start being won and lost from next month with the kick-offs to the domestic seasons in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
â00The chase for places will be well and truly on from next month,â0 said Millar, the immediate past chairman of the IRB.
â00Fairly soon the Lions selectors will identify a considerable list of players and then whittle that down as the season goes on.
â00And, make no mistake, they will also look at those players who are not necessarily first choices for their country so they will closely follow club matches as well as the internationals.
â00The Lions will have to be very clear how they intend to win the series and pick their squad accordingly with the players who fit the game plan that coach Ian McGeechan will have settled on.
â00Ian is a very experienced guy and knows just what he has to do to produce a winning 2009 Lions team but he cannot be in all places at all times and will need advisors he can really trust before they settle on the final tour party.
â00Because to beat the Springboks will not only depend on the strengths of the Lions players but also where they feel there may be weakness in South Africaâ00s play and where they may be able to put pressure on them. And what goes almost without saying when you play South Africa â00 and it is hardly rocket science â00 is you have to be able to scrum and scrum and scrum and that means picking adequate props just for starters.
Dr Syd Millar is an experienced player, coach and administrator
â00This is also a huge season for the South African players and, although they currently have some problems and injuries and may be short in some positions, by the time the Lions arrive they will be sorted and every player will be desperate to play against the Lions, be it in the provincial games or the Tests.
â00My hope for the Lions of 2009 is that they not only win the three-Test series but that they do that by playing positive rugby. I say that because I feel that currently we are playing too much of a driving game with a fear of losing possession, that we are concentrating on continuity of possession and not continuity of play.
â00Some of the new laws being trialed encourage playing a stretching game and a running contest and the Lions must go for players to take advantage of that. And, if we cannot pick a good enough side from the four countries to really challenge the Springboks then there is something wrong and I honestly think they can go there fairly confident of winning the series.â0
Millar (r), with fellow Irish Lions Ray McLoughlin and Tom Kiernan
And while some of the class of 2009 may be getting the South African tour experience for the first time, Millar has a sackful of mostly marvellous memories.
â00To some degree it is hard to differentiate between playing and coaching but all four of my trips to South Africa were really good tours,â0 he said.
â00And those tours leave me in no doubt as to what the 2009 Lions can expect next summer when they face the Springboks in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
â00South Africa is a great place to tour and on the High Veld, with their dry, hard grounds, it is a super place to play a handling game, while the huge public interest makes it something special â00 only New Zealand matches them for their enthusiasm and commitment to the game.
â00They won the World Cup for a second time when they beat England at Stade de France last October and they attached such huge pride to both being a Springbok and in their performance in the jersey.
â00There is this steely in-built determination not to let their team-mates down and, while they are very physically hard, they are, in general, clean. There may be the odd bit of nonsense here and there but they generally play well within the laws.
Millar coached the victorious 1974 Lions in South Africa
â00As for my tours there, I guess the 1962 tour was a good trip as a player, when we drew the first Test, lost the second 3-0 and the third on a mistake. It was a close series and perhaps we deserved a bit better.
â00In 1968 we didnâ00t have the same capacity of players but we did OK and in 1974 as coach we didnâ00t lose a game â00 winning 21 and drawing one out of 22 matches and playing some great rugby along the way.
â00In those days, things were more relaxed and you had more time to see the country and socialise a lot more and I think the current tours are the poorer for their shortness. I donâ00t agree with short Lions tours as it is particularly hard to develop a Test side with just a handful of lead-up games.
â00The southern hemisphere nations love the Lions, they represent such a big challenge to them and generally there is plenty of good rugby, but the tours need more fixtures.â0