THE British and Irish Lions will be playing to secure a future in Australia next summer, 1993 tour captain Gavin Hastings, of Watsonians, believes.
Speaking after the appointment of Warren Gatland to coach a squad that will be managed by Herioter Andy Irvine, Hastings said an increasingly crowded calendar means only success can ensure that the Lions continue.
“The Lions need to win the Test series for credibility. Even though they were incredibly competitive in South Africa four year ago, they lost what mattered – the Test series” said Hastings.
“Prior to 1997 there was that worry the Lions might disappear as the schedules would be too packed, so the success of that tour was so important.
“Fast-forward to 2001 and it was a really dramatic tour, a nail-biter, down to the last line-out that had everyone hooked.
“In 2005, Clive Woodward made a mess of it, and if the Lions had been successful it would have been deemed the way forward, with a cast of thousands, and it would have put such a strain on everyone that it would never have worked.
“In 2009, the style returned to how it was and how it should be. I think we’re in a similar position to ‘97, it’s come full circle. Now they need to win.”