â00Thereâ00s probably no one more experienced in Lions tradition and history than Ian McGeechan, and I think the fact that Gerald Davies is there as well is extremely important,â0 said Hastings, who captained the Lions on their tour to New Zealand 15 years ago.
â00For me, this Lions tour is almost a bit of a watershed because I think there will be an awful lot of players that will not have been on a Lions tour before that will be there as a result of their performances.
â00I think in the past, selectors may have been a wee bit guilty of picking players who have performed either in a World Cup two years before or on past Lions tours four years behind. I think that the selection this time around will be based purely on the way that the players are playing this season and thatâ00s very, very important. They will be taking the players who are on form and have shown a great deal of promise.â0
Since retiring as a player with 61 caps and 667 points for his country to his name, Hastings has followed the last three Lions tours with great interest. If the Lions are to continue to build on their hard-built reputation in world rugby, the former Watsonians, Cambridge University and London Scottish star believes they must learn from the frustrations of three years ago and regain the form that saw them win in South Africa in 1997 and come within a whisker of defeating the Wallabies four years later.
â00I do think that we took a bit of a dent in New Zealand three years ago. That was a massively disappointing tour for the supporters. For the Lions to have a future, they must remain competitive and, Iâ00m afraid, three years ago, we werenâ00t competitive on the field.
â00That is the most important requirement for the Lions to be secure of a place in the future. I donâ00t think they need to win the Test series but they have to be competitive. This is the next tour and the next opportunity for the Lions to address those mistakes.
â00Thereâ00s no doubt that the last time we visited South Africa in â0097, it was a really crucial time for the Lions. The fact that we won that Test series and that four years later in Australia was such a brilliant series really hammered home the importance of the Lions in world rugby and the significance in which it is placed.
Gavin Hastings (right) with Andy Irvine at the adidas Lions shirt launch
â00With Ian McGeechan at the helm and Gerald Davies as manager, there is a huge amount of experience and integrity right at the top there. Every single effort will be made to ensure that the team are competitive and I just have a feeling that the lessons have been learned from the last tour and will be put to good use.â0