'Steroids' to heal Lions skipper

Thu, 30 May 2013 15:35
Large sam warburton b i lions sit Large warren gatlan b i lions pre Large paul o connell b i lions lo

The B&I Lions are confident captain Sam Warburton would be fit for the Test series against Australia.

The British and Irish Lions revealed that captain Sam Warburton is laid up with a knee ligament injury, but said they were confident he would be fit for the Test series against Australia.

Warburton, who will miss Saturday's tour opener against the Barbarians, has been given a steroid injection and ordered to rest the knee for five days, after taking a knock in training 10 days ago, coach Warren Gatland said.

Gatland's more detailed account of the injury to Warburton's medial collateral ligament (MCL), one of the main ligaments of the knee, comes a day after attack coach Rob Howley dismissed the problem as a "slight bump".

"He's had a bit of a sore knee for the last 10 days," said Gatland, who also played down its significance.

"We spoke to the medics yesterday [Wednesday] and they've given him an injection and told him to stay off it for about five days.

"He was desperate to play and could have done if he had been taking a few anti-inflams [anti-inflammatories]. But we just felt that so early in the tour, it wasn't worth the risk," Gatland told reporters in Hong Kong.

"It is a slight MCL but the medics are happy that it's just a bit sore and just needed a steroid in there to hopefully improve it in the next four or five days."

Warburton was left out of the Lions team announced on Thursday, with Ireland's Paul O'Connell standing in as captain and Justin Tipuric taking his Wales captain's place at openside flank.

The Lions depart for Australia late on Sunday and will play five tour matches there before the first of three Tests in Brisbane on June 22, giving Warburton, 24, just over three weeks to recover.

"It is better for now to keep him off the knee," Gatland said.

"The last thing we wanted to do was get through the next three or four weeks then all of a sudden come into Test week and not have him fit and available.

"It is just precautionary."

O'Connell, who captained the 2009 Lions in South Africa and toured New Zealand in 2005, is the only Irish player named in the starting 15 for Saturday's game at Hong Kong Stadium.

"I am disappointed for Sam," O'Connell said.

"He has run a great ship for the last two weeks so I am sure he is disappointed not to lead the boys out for the first game.

"I got to do that last time around so I am sure he is disappointed, but I am thrilled and really looking forward to it."

Gatland said he had no hesitation in handing the honour of leading the Lions to O'Connell.

"It was a pretty easy decision," said the New Zealander.

"He has been great around the squad for the last few weeks. It was probably a blessing that Munster got knocked out [of the European Cup] and he brings experience into the team.

"He has done a great job supporting Sam and given us some general leadership."

Despite the absence of Warburton, Gatland was still able to name an all-Wales back row of Tipuric, Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate, among nine Welshman in the side.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 20 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 14h45 Bloemfontein
TUT v WSU 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v Rhodes 16h30 Cape Town
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Stellenbosch
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Potchefstroom
UJ v UP-Tuks 17h00 Johannesburg
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS