McGeechan: Lions gave everything

British & Irish Lions midweek head coach Ian McGeechan was proud of the way his side fronted up in the 17-13 win over Auckland, as it proved how much the Lions meant to them. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions midweek head coach Ian McGeechan was proud of the way his side fronted up in the 17-13 win over Auckland, as it proved how much the Lions meant to them.

McGeechan had always said that the success of a Lions tour can be judged on the strength of the final midweek team because their chances of featuring in the final Test are slim.

"I am very, very proud," he said. "It was a team full of character. They were intelligent in what they did, really dug in against a side that has some outstanding individual runners. It was a great team effort against a very good provincial side.

"Everybody gave everything tonight. At at time when it would have been easy to come off tour or show it didn’t matter we had a performance which showed how much the Lions means to a big group of people, and that includes me."

A try two minutes before half time from Martyn Williams saw the Lions open up a healthy 14-3 lead, but Auckland hit back through Isa Nacewa to close to within a point.

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But the Lions held firm in the tough final stages and it came down to the character of the midweek side to pull them through.

McGeechan reserved special praise for Matt Dawson, voted man of the match for an eye-catching display at scrum-half in only his second start of the tour.

"He’s a strong character and it was important he started because the build-up to the game when you start is very difficult and we needed him to be in it all mind, heart and soul. He certainly was that tonight."

McGeechan, who takes over at Wasps on his return from New Zealand, has been on two Lions tours as a player and four in a coaching capacity and would not rule out further involvement on the South Africa tour in four years’ time. 

The Scot suggested he would not be on the coaching staff in 2009 but he does have an eye on the manager’s job, currently being filled by Bill Beaumont.

"I might fancy Bill’s job as manager," he said.

"It’s just been good to be part of it again. There is a group of players in there for whom the experience has been worthwhile.

"They will go back with different experiences. That is the value of the Lions, that is the magic.

"I enjoy it, I make no secret of that. It is a tremendous environment and is a privilege when you get the opportunity."

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