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We're ready to bash the 'Boks, says coach Geech

COACH Ian McGeechan leads his British and Irish Lions side into the crunch first Test with South Africa tomorrow insisting preparation could not have gone any better.<br /><br />Tuesday&rsquo;s bruising 20-8 success over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth ensured the Lions arrive in Durban with six provincial victories out of six under their belts &ndash; the first Lions unbeaten warm-up record since the 1989 tour of Australia.<br /><br />McGeechan yesterday named his starting XV for the clash with the world champions in Durban, admitting he had deliberated for hours on a number of difficult positional calls. But McGeechan insisted he felt encouraged by his selection headache and heaped praise on his players for making his decision such a difficult one. <br /><br />&ldquo;The Test team has been picked on form following the six provincial matches,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;There were some very difficult calls to make as the players as a group and individually have done everything that we have asked of them and performed on the field. It has been 20 years since a Lions team has won all of its provincial matches leading up to the Test series so it is very satisfying to be in such a position. The entire squad and the management have worked hard to create an outstanding team environment. Everyone has done this very professionally and it is fair to say that I would not change anything that we have done so far.&rdquo;<br /><br />Despite the encouraging preparation, McGeechan is fully aware as to the task that awaits his side. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no doubt South Africa are probably the best team in the world at the moment, they&rsquo;re very talented, have a settled coaching team and play quite a varied game, from strength and power to subtlety and speed &ndash; we&rsquo;re under no illusions how good they are.&rdquo;<br /><br />McGeechan was also forced into making yet another squad alteration yesterday after Munster and Ireland prop John Hayes was drafted in to replace Scotland&rsquo;s Euan Murray, who has been ruled out for the rest of the tour with an ankle injury, sustained in victory over the Kings.<br /><br />Hayes, who has won 94 caps for his country, is in contention for the final midweek game against the Emerging Springboks on Tuesday.