Lions 2009: Legends' verdict

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 20 May 2008
 Lions 2009: Legends' verdict
HSBC Lions Legends Gareth Edwards, Gavin Hastings, Brian O'Driscoll and Jason Robinson

Between them Gareth Edwards, Brian O'Driscoll, Jason Robinson and Gavin Hastings have won 25 test caps for the British & Irish Lions over five decades. They represent different national flags but are united on the choice of coach and in their love of the red jersey.

Gareth Edwards, former Wales & Lions

On McGeechan as coach

“Well I’m sure if you could bottle it you would be selling it by now. He knows how to get the best out of the players, he knows what’s expected of them, he knows that sometimes these guys as individuals in their own national side might in their own minds feel as though they deserve a place in the test side but not everybody can play in the test side, so it’s also a question of keeping everybody happy on a tour.

“There’s a huge amount of tradition that the lions have played an expansive game so he has got that kind of background, that’s his methodology, he likes that type of game, so I believe he’s got the qualities, the experience and the guile for it to be a successful tour.


Gavin Hastings, former Scotland & Lions captain

On McGeechan as coach

“Ian McGeechan is a Lions legend. His name is synonymous with the Lions and it brings a smile to your face, you just know his passion for the Lions. Really Ian McGeechan was put on this planet to coach and play for the Lions and that is it.

“He has this enthusiasm for the Lions that just seems to be limitless and boundless. If Ian McGeechan asks you to do something and you are a Lions guy for the first time you’re going to do it. You’re not in a position to question what Ian McGeechan asks you to do, you’re going to do it and you’re going to follow his lead and that’s a great testament to him.


Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland and Lions

On overcoming the disappointments of 2005 and the question of the captaincy next year

“Its hard to say you would not want to be captain of a side having experienced it already and probably not fulfilled it in the same way that I would have liked, having only played a minute of a test match. But that's something for much further down the track, certainly not for a year out.

“What happened in New Zealand certainly hasn’t soured my taste for Lions Rugby. I will be as hungry as I have been for any other year to be involved in the tour, it’s just something so unique – you can’t compare it to anything else, you can’t compare it to international rugby, you can’t compare it to Barbarians rugby, it stands out on its own and I think that’s what makes it a little bit special.


Jason Robinson, former England & Lions

On the magic of four nations becoming one

“When you play for England it’s great but you do spend a lot of time together. When you play for the Lions it’s ‘Right, we’re here, it’s six, seven, eight weeks, it’s got to happen’ and you’ve got to do your bit and whatever you’ve done with England, with Wales, you put it to one side. This is the Lions. We all buy in together, we all sing off the same song sheet.”