Owens injury could pave way for Hartley's Lions call

Fri, 19 May 2017 06:57

INJURY UPDATE: England captain Dylan Hartley moved a step closer to a possible late British and Irish Lions call-up on Thursday after a fitness scare involving Ken Owens.

Wales hooker Owens will miss the Scarlets' Pro12 play-off clash against Leinster in Dublin on Friday because of an ankle injury.

Owens was one of three hookers named in the 41-man squad for the Lions tour of Hartley's native New Zealand, alongside Ireland captain Rory Best and England's Jamie George.

The combined side are currently holding a pre-tour camp in Wales before next week's training session in Ireland.

Their opening tour match is against a Provincial Union XV in Whangarei on June 3, with the first of three Tests against the world champion All Blacks in Auckland on June 24.

If Owens, who impressed in this season's Six Nations, is ruled out of the 10-match tour, England hooker Hartley would seem to be an obvious replacement.

Best, asked about Owens's injury on Thursday, told reporters: "From his point of view, to miss a semifinal is going to be gutting, and you just hope it is not too bad. I hope he recovers and he is fit to play in the final next week, or to train with us in Dublin.

"Ken is a fantastic player. He is very tough and very good around the pitch, makes a lot of tackles and does not miss many."

Best added: "He has been very good at the set-piece this season - he is in fine form."

Meanwhile, Lions assistant coach Neil Jenkins added: "It's rugby at the end of the day. Stuff does happen, and players get injured.

"Hopefully, Ken is going to be fine...With a bit of luck, everything is going to be OK for the Lions."

Hartley, capped 84 times, has led England to successive Six Nations titles under Australian coach Eddie Jones.

The Northampton front row is currently set to lead England on their two-Test tour of Argentina next month.

Hartley, who has missed more than a year of his career through suspension, was picked for the 2013 Lions tour of Australia but did not make the trip after being sent off in the English Premiership Final for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes and receiving an 11-week ban from the Rugby Football Union. 

Lions coach Warren Gatland, speaking about Hartley's absence from the New Zealand squad, said last month: "Dylan is very unlucky in terms of not going."

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0