Rugby Union

British & Irish Lions captain could miss Barbarians clash

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British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is a major doubt for the tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong this Saturday.

The Wales flanker was forced to sit out the first training session on opposition soil this morning (Wednesday), with a knee injury keeping the 24-year-old on the sidelines.

"We just want to give Sam a bit more time before Saturday. He took a bump in training last week and it is just a bit puffy so we will assess that over the next 24 hours," said assistant coach Rob Howley.

If Warburton does miss out, then compatriot Justin Tipuric is likely to get the chance to push his case for a place in the starting XV for the first test match on June 22nd.

Prop Gethin Jenkins is definitely out of the first match with a calf strain, whilst Irish back-row Sean O’Brien is also struggling with a knee problem.

2009 Lions captain Paul O’Connell will be favourite to lead the side on Saturday if a replacement is required, and Howley insists the Lions will be taking the Barbarians seriously despite their emphatic loss to England at the weekend.

"It will be a good hit-out against a very strong Barbarians side and you don't get that many opportunities before the first Test so it is important you hit the ground running," he added.

Warren Gatland is set to name the starting line-up early on Thursday morning, with anticipation building on the final stop before Australia.

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British & Irish Lions
Rugby Union
Sam Warburton

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