McGeechan remains tight lipped

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan is remaining tight lipped as to the identity of the players on standby for this summer's tour of South Africa. [more]

McGeechan remains tight lipped

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan is remaining tight lipped as to the identity of the players on standby for this summer’s tour of South Africa.

McGeechan announced a 37-man squad on Tuesday afternoon but has already lost one of his original party to injury four weeks prior to departure.

While the Scot has said he will not be naming a replacement for Munster’s Tomas O’Leary for at least another 10 days or two weeks, rumours continue to fly as to who will be next to make the squad if injuries arise in any other positions before or during the tour.

Having been asked whether Danny Cipriani would be the man to replace Stephen Jones or Ronan O’Gara if either of the two Lions fly-halves were ruled out of the tour, McGeechan gave little away.

"There are two or three players in every position ready and able to fly over if we pick up injuries," said McGeechan.

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"You can make your own mind up on whether Danny is one of those."

Although McGeechan has decided not to name names at this stage, he has made it clear that any replacements will need to be in supreme condition if they are to come into the Lions squad and make the desired impact.

In 2001, Martin Corry flew over from England’s Churchill Cup campaign to join up with the Lions in Australia and then went on to play in all three Tests against the Wallabies.

Four years later, Ryan Jones was one of the stand-out performers for Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions after touring with Wales having missed out on selection for the original touring party.

In 2009, McGeechan hopes that any players he does send out a Lions lifeline to will have a similar impression on proceedings.

"Most of those players will be on tour with their countries anyway which will give them opportunity to stay match-fit and totally ready for any potential call-up," he added.

"It’s important to have players very sharp coming into a Test series."

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