Warburton is on the mend

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 08:11
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The British and Irish Lions were given a clean bill of health on Sunday, and captain Sam Warburton could be in action against Western Force on Wednesday.

The British and Irish Lions were given a clean bill of health on Sunday by their medical chief who revealed that captain Sam Warburton could be in action against Western Force on Wednesday.

Doctor James Robson told reporters at the team hotel in Hong Kong that the flank was subject to "further assessment" on his niggly knee before the squad depart for Australia on Sunday night.

"Sam is progressing well," Robson said of the rehab work the Wales loose forward was undertaking since his minor ligament strain sustained in training more than a week ago.

Robson also confirmed that there were no significant injuries sustained in the 59-8 hammering of the Barbarians on Saturday night in brutal heat.

With the first Test less than three weeks away, Warburton had been a frustrated spectator at the Hong Kong Stadium.

"He (Warburton) is subject to further assessment today and then we will give our recommendations to the coaches," said Robson.

There was more good news, this time on prop Gethin Jenkins and flank Sean O'Brien. The pair sat out the Barbarians match with calf strain and bruised knee respectively.

Both took part in light training on Sunday and, if Warburton progresses as expected, coach Warren Gatland could have a fully-fit squad to choose from come Tuesday's team announcement in Perth.

The only injuries sustained in the 32 degrees heat on Saturday night had been cuts that needed stitching.

"I'm delighted we had less damage than we normally would in a Test match," he added.

"Two guys required stitches, Tom Youngs and Paul O'Connell, but those were accidents. We are going to arrive in Australia with the squad intact."

He insisted, despite many in the British and Irish media questioning the wisdom of playing in such conditions, that the energy-sapping Hong Kong match would benefit the players on the rest of the tour.

"The boys did exceptionally well, the conditions were tough," said Robson.

"We know that if you stress individuals at certain points you get a benefit. You benefit from being able to cope with those stresses, be it physically or mentally.

"Coaches want that. What better way to prepare than by playing in a sauna?"

After the match in Perth, the Lions will travel on to Brisbane to face the Reds next Saturday.

A combined NSW/Queensland Country side await in Newcastle on June 11 before two matches against Super Rugby sides the Waratahs in Sydney on June 15 and Brumbies in Canberra three days later.

The three Tests against the Wallabies take place on June 22 in Brisbane, June 29 in Melbourne and July 6 in Sydney.

AFP

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