LIONS AIM fOr more power

The British and Irish Lions aim to make sure they at least match the power threat of world champions South Africa after selecting a group of forwards branded "beasts" by scrum coach Graham Rowntree.

It was noticeable how several members of the backroom staff, from head coach Ian McGeechan down, appeared to define Tuesday's squad announcement in terms of trying to nullify the assets of the Springboks, rather than talking up the qualities of the players chosen just in themselves.

South Africa have long been renowned for their imposing forwards.

Indeed it was a desire not to be physically dominated that saw the Lions, under the captaincy of legendary Ireland lock Willie John McBride, develop the infamous "99" call in South Africa in 1974 - the first time they won a series against the Springboks.

McGeechan, a centre on that unbeaten tour, made sure he had a similarly commanding figure as a captain in Martin Johnson when, in 1997, he coached the Lions to a 2-1 Test series victory over the Springboks.

The Lions' 10-match tour starts on May 30 in Rustenburg, with the first of their three Tests against South Africa in Durban on June 20. - Sapa-AFP