McGeechan has backed Sam Warburton for the Lions captaincy
Sir Ian McGeechan has backed Sam Warburton to lead the British & Irish Lions in Australia.
The Lions legend, player on two tours and coach on five, has been hugely impressed with the Cardiff Blues flanker's resurgence.
Warburton relinquished the Welsh captaincy, with former Lions Gethin Jenkins and Ryan Jones also wearing the armband during the triumpant RBS 6 Nations.
But McGeechan insists leadership qualities do not go away and believes Warburton proved his class against Scotland and England.
"For me Sam Warburton has come through strongly," McGeechan wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.
"The biggest question mark hanging over him was his ability to stay fit.
"It was not an indictment of Warburton for him to be held back from the Wales captaincy. Rob Howley did exactly the right thing.
"What gets you on the plane for the Lions is playing well. Leadership qualities never go away. Your form or fitness can. His last two games have answered all the questions.
"You would have to talk about Brian O'Driscoll in that captaincy conversation, Chris Robshaw as well.
"In the first part of the tour, Warren Gatland will give every player an opportunity so you need good leaders every time you put out a side.
"You try to implement the same principles of play so that it becomes second nature to the group. That requires strong, collective leadership. Sam Warburton is my front-runner."
The 2013 Six Nations may not have been a vintage tournament but McGeechan reckons there is plenty to be positive ahead of the trip Down Under, and singled out the performances of former Lions Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts.
"I am encouraged by what I have seen. Some say it has been a middling Championship but that does not have to be a concern.
"I am not downhearted at all. The Lions is all about chemistry, about matching players with other players and seeing one work off the other. You cannot look at players or teams in isolation.
"Ireland have not had a great tournament but how would their No8 Jamie Heaslip fare if he were put between Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric? Pretty well, I would say.
"We have seen enough to know that the Lions will trouble Australia. It was great that the Championship finished on a real high at the Millennium Stadium, with big-game players such as Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts, both Lions in 2009, really stepping up. Wallabies take note."
"They came into their own. Big, intelligent men running hard. That is how you squeeze Australia. It starts in the front five, through to the back-row and midfield. If you get that right, then you are in business.
"As for attacking potential, the players are there. The hard grounds of Australia will draw the best from players like Roberts, Rob Kearney, George North, Jonathan Sexton and others."
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.