Jenkins setback for B&I Lions
Fri, 07 Sep 2012 13:36
As far as freeing up Gethin, in principle it's a no
Wales prop Gethin Jenkins could be blocked from taking part in the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia after Toulon coach Bernard Laporte said the club would not be releasing him.
Lions boss Warren Gatland met Laporte and Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal and was told Jenkins could not join the Lions for the start of next year's tour to Australia if the French club qualify for the Top 14 Final on June 1.
Jenkins would also not be available to play for Wales against the Wallabies in December because the match falls outside the official international window.
"The meeting was very friendly," Laporte told Friday's edition of L'Equipe.
"We discussed the availability of Gethin Jenkins. We stressed again our determination not to anticipate his release for the Lions Tour of Australia in case we are in the Top 14 final.
"We also discussed Gethin's availability for Wales during the November Tests and the Six Nations.
"On December 1, the Welsh play a Test against Australia outside of the window and we told them that the position of principle was the same as for the Lions tour: 'No'.
"Toulon play Grenoble on the same day in the Top 14."
Jenkins, who has started five of the Lions' last six Test matches on the 2005 and 2009 tours, signed for Toulon last summer and is understood to accept it could cost him a place on the Lions tour.
"As far as freeing up Gethin [to fly out with the Lions if Toulon reach the Top 14 final], in principle it's a no," Laporte said.
"You don't pay a player to be playing with the Lions at the most important moment of the season."
Gatland has travelled to France to talk to squad contenders and their clubs about the issue of release and will also meet Perpignan and Bayonne to discuss the release of players like Mike Phillips, James Hook and Luke Charteris.
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