25 Apr 2009

Springbok coach questions selection approach of Lions

8:39 am on 25 April 2009

The South Africa rugby coach Peter de Villiers has questioned whether the British and Irish Lions were right to pick a squad designed to match the world champions' forward strength.

The Lions travel to South Africa next month for a 10-match tour which features three Tests against the Springboks and which according to the side's scrum coach is full of "beasts".

But de Villiers has queried the approach, saying if coach Ian McGeechan wants to try to match the Springboks it's the wrong approach, and he should be saying this is the Lions' strength, which would justify the selections he's made.

The way in which several members of the Lions coaching staff spoke this week suggested they were more focused on stopping South Africa than playing to their strengths.

It was a point not lost on de Villiers, who says he picks a side by focusing on how he wants to play the game and then finding the players with those talents.

De Villiers was also taken aback by McGeechan's decision to leave out the captains of England, Scotland and Wales, with Steve Borthwick, Mike Blair and Ryan Jones respectively all omitted.