British & Irish Lions
Lions still hopeful on trio
Tue, 02 Jul 2013 09:45
The British and Irish Lions are still hopeful that the trio of Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips and Alex Corbisiero will be passed fit to face Australia in the series decider in Sydney.
Two of the three players were involved in the Lions' victory in the first Test in Brisbane but were unable to play in the second Test because of their ailments.
Jamie Roberts has not been involved in any matches for the Lions since he injured his hamstring against the Waratahs and was borderline for the second Test and now remains a doubt for the decider.
His Welsh counterpart, Phillips, injured his knee during the first Test and was unavailable for the second match in Melbourne but will be hoping that he will be fit and ready for the final showdown.
Corbisiero injured his calf in the first Test after he put on an incredibly solid display at the scrum and in general play. He showed that he should have been on the first plane out to Australia instead of being called up due to injuries.
Tour manager Andy Irvine says he remains hopeful of having the three players available: "We're hoping so, but the final decision will not be made until tomorrow [Wednesday].
"The medics are reasonably hopeful, but we can't say for certain at this moment," he added.
Irvine, the veteran of five Lions tours, knows that the time between the second and third Test is some of the hardest to deal with and the players are almost on the plane back home.
"I've not got the slightest doubt - I've been on five Lions tours now and believe me after the second Test the boys are physically and mentally exhausted."
The Lions are searching for their first series win since 1997 and having to do it without their capatain could make it that much more difficult.
"This is going to be one of the biggest games the Lions have played in the last 30, 40 years.
"We would dearly love to have our captain, and particularly when he's in such good form. So we can't hide from that, it's a big blow to us.
"[We are] fortunate in that it's one of the positions in the touring party where we have tremendous reserve strength," Irvine added.
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