Lions give Finn Russell injury update after removal of ankle boot
Lions assistant coach Gregor Townsend has delivered an update on the status of Finn Russell and the achilles injury that resulted in the mid-tour call-up of England out-half Marcus Smith who will start this Saturday’s match versus the Stormers due to the unavailability of Russell and Warren Gatland’s desire to freshen up Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell by leaving them on the sidelines.
It was last Saturday after the win in the Sharks rematch when Gatland revealed the worrying news about Russell’s ankle. “It isn’t a strained achilles, there is a slight little wee tear in it so it is going to keep him out for the next couple of weeks,” said the Lions coach.
“We are going to try and see if we can rehab him. He is going to be in a boot for the next five days and when he comes out of that, he will have some more treatment. He will still continue to get treatment over the next five days and if he is making good progress then we will assess him going forward. If he is not there is a possibility that he may go home. It’s a wait-and-see situation.”
That was the same description Townsend used about the injury when he provided an update on Friday, six days after Gatland had originally spoken about the achilles tear. “It’s wait and see,” said the assistant at the captain’s run virtual media briefing in Cape Town, his first media duties since his week in self-isolation following the virus outbreak last week in the Lions camp.
“We are now five, six days into his recovery. He had an injection into that area. He is out of his boot so he will start the rehab process gently this week and then when we get to the end of next week we are hoping he will be back involved in full training. It’s unlikely he will be involved in the first Test but we are still hopeful he will be available for the last two.”
After starting Biggar and Farrell twice and Russell once at No10, the Lions have given this weekend's out-half jersey to Marcus Smith#LionsRugby #CastleLionsSeries #LionsSA2021
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 16, 2021
With Biggar pulled at the last minute from the midweek Lions starting line-up against South Africa A due to an ankle sprain and not looked at for selection against the Stormers, no single out-half has dominated the No10 selection so far on the tour. Biggar and Farrell have each made two starts at out-half, with Russell starting once, and the emphasis this weekend shifts onto the Lions’ fourth out-half, the newly called up Smith.
“Two starts isn’t bad,” assured Townsend, dismissing concerns that whoever is eventually picked to start at No10 in the first Test against the Springboks on July 24 could potentially be undercooked. “These are guys who are experienced players, they are all between 28 and 30 years old, they know their way around a Test match and they have trained pretty much full apart from Finn in the last few days so they will be fine.
“Whoever is selected at 10 we hope they are fully fit and that is one reason why Dan and Owen are not involved tomorrow [Saturday], just to make sure we have got a full week of training next week with those guys available.”
"Honestly, it was a horrendous few days"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 15, 2021
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