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Lions give Biggar injury update, explain why Lawes is under wraps

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Warren Gatland has delivered an upbeat injury update surrounding his Lions squad, insisting that out-half Dan Biggar would be playing this Saturday if the fixture was a Test match versus the Springboks and not the Stormers. He also explained why Courtney Lawes, Biggar’s Northampton teammate, isn’t featuring either this weekend in Cape Town and is being kept under wraps for Test-week training. 


Biggar was an eleventh-hour absence from the Lions team that lost 17-13 to South Africa A on Wednesday night, Owen Farrell stepping into the vacancy. A Lions media release just prior to kick-off in Cape Town stated: “Dan’s got a minor ankle sprain which is not worth risking, so Owen comes in at 10.”

Lions boss Gatland provided more detail on the Biggar situation on Thursday after he named an entirely different starting XV from the side that took the field on Wednesday night, Marcus Smith getting chosen as the starting 10 with starting full-back and skipper Stuart Hogg poised to provide out-half back-up as no specialist 10 has been picked on the bench.

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RugbyPass fanzone on what Marcus Smith joining the Lions means for Finn Russell
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RugbyPass fanzone on what Marcus Smith joining the Lions means for Finn Russell

“It’s not (a concern),” said Gatland about Biggar’s absence from the latest Lions matchday selection. “It’s one of those ones that if we give him a bit more time then he is going to be fully ready to go on Monday for training and it’s one of those ones where if he plays, it’s going to be okay but it is probably going to be sore afterwards. It’s kind of managing that situation. 

“If it’s a Test match he would have fronted up and been ready to go but we want to make sure everyone gets a fuller opportunity and anyone who is carrying any niggles we freshen them up so he can have a full week of preparation in training. 

“Sometimes it’s always difficult if players miss the first part of a week of they are carrying a couple of niggles, particularly with this first Test, everyone first and ready to go. We could have played him, he could have been available for Saturday but we’re just giving him a little more time.”


Switching to Lawes, a second row starter in last Saturday’s win in the rematch with the Sharks, Gatland explained: “He had a lot of time earlier in the tour and was involved in a lot of games. Again, he is another one we are freshening up. We are really happy with the way he has contributed and played. 

“He has had a bit of a stiff neck that kept him out of a little bit of the contact stuff so again it’s just making sure we manage him as well. So there is nothing wrong with him – it’s just from his early involvements and the amount of minutes he had in those early games, it’s just giving him a bit more time so he is fresh and ready to go for training and available for selection next week.”

Switching to the trio of players who were hurt in the defeat to South Africa A, Gatland added: “Anthony Watson, his hamstring was just a bit tight and he has got a little bit of an ankle sprain but he is okay. Wyn Jones, just a sting in his shoulder which just needs to be rested for a few days. And with Liam Williams, it is an HIA so just going through the protocols but apart from that, a couple of sore bodies but pretty much everyone is fit and healthy.”



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