Controversial England Captain Dylan Hartley could be in line for an early Lions call-up as injury fears surround Welsh hooker Ken Owens.
Owens suffered an ankle injury in training this week and will not line out ahead of tonight’s Pro 12 semi-final clash between Leinster and Scarlets in Dublin.
Owens was among three hookers named in Warren Gatland’s 41 man Lions squad, which saw the England and Northampton Saints frontrower Hartley controversially omitted.
Meanwhile Hartley is preparing to line out for Northampton as they take on Pro12 side Connacht in a Champions Cup play-off this weekend.
The England hooker – whose career has been littered with disciplinary issues – was widely regarded as being out of favour with Lions head coach Gatland, who chose Hartley’s England understudy Jamie George ahead of the New Zealand born hooker for the gruelling tour of his homeland.
Lions squad members who are not involved in domestic competition have been continuing their preparation for the tour in the Vale of Glamorgan complex in Wales.