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Lions provide update on 'booted' Finn Russell injury situation

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

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Lions kicking coach Neil Jenkins has issued a vague update on the status of Finn Russell, the out-half who is currently wearing an ankle boot in the hope that it can help mend the small tear to his achilles that has ruled him out of tour selection this week. 


It was last Saturday night in Pretoria after the Lions’ win in their rematch with the Sharks that Warren Gatland delivered a depressing development, admitting that it was possible that Russell could head home early from the Lions tour if there was no full recovery from his problematic achilles issue which resulted in the call up to the squad of England out-half Marcus Smith.

“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. 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 and 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.” 

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Lions boss Warren Gatland talks about Alun Wyn Jones’ recovery from last month’s dislocated shoulder
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Lions boss Warren Gatland talks about Alun Wyn Jones’ recovery from last month’s dislocated shoulder

Russell wasn’t meant to be involved in last week’s midweek Lions win over the Sharks but he played off the bench after Gatland was forced to make eight late changes to his matchday 23. He was then due to be on the bench again in the Sharks rematch but he pulled out and was replaced by Bundee Aki after the extent of his achilles problem was revealed.  

The Lions squad have since moved on to Cape Town ahead of this Wednesday’s clash with a stacked South Africa A XV and kicking coach Jenkins fronted media on Tuesday ahead of that game. “Warren Gatland is saying we will give Finn the best possible chance as we can give him really. He is being monitored and looked after each day. 

“He is a class act, he is a class player. He is a good man and he is an important part of this squad and hopefully he can get himself fit and give himself an opportunity to be involved in these Test matches. It’s a day-to-day process and we will see where he is at each day and we have got a fantastic medical staff so they will give him every opportunity they can to get himself fit. Let’s hope he can get himself right and put himself up for selection.”


Jenkins also reacted to the dismissed suggestion from Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus that the Lions should play South Africa A again next Saturday rather than the long-scheduled match versus the Stormers. “Warren felt the schedule is the schedule. We are playing the Stormers on Saturday, meant to be anyway, and they deserve the opportunity to play against us. 

“It’s once every twelve years for the countries that we tour. It’s South Africa A on Wednesday and the Stormers on Saturday as far as I am concerned. I believe that is what Warren wants and I am sure that will happen.”


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