Lions arrive on a high

The Lions arrived in South Africa this morning with Ian McGeechan claiming spirit in the camp is as high as it ever has been on any of his previous Lions tours. [more]

Lions arrive on a high

The Lions arrived in South Africa this morning with Ian McGeechan claiming spirit in the camp is as high as it ever has been on any of his previous Lions tours.

The 2009 head coach toured with Britain and Ireland’s elite as a player in 1974 and 1977 and has since been involved as a coach in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2005.

Yet, despite his extensive experience across four decades with the Lions, the 62-year-old says the current crop of tourists have so far matched anything he has been involved with before.

"It’s been as good as it’s ever been," said McGeechan, after a week-long training camp at Pennyhill Park in Surrey.

"We’ve had a great week. Training has been excellent and, as coaches, we are happy with where we are.

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"The players have given us the start we needed and it’s as good a start as we’ve ever had on any of the Lions tours I’ve been involved in.

"A lot of it is down to the players and their approach and attitude, which is why it has been such a good start."

Much has been made of the number of players who have been ruled out the tour prior to departure but McGeechan insists that those who remain are 100-per-cent ready to begin the 10-match tour with a bang.

"I said we would leave as one group and that we would leave fully fit. There isn’t a player we’ve got who is unavailable for selection.

"We have got some good work in this week, we have trained twice a day doing different things and I am very conscious of managing the players.

"I want these players at 100%, or as near as we can possibly make it, when they play, starting next Saturday against the Royal XV."

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