Sun 11 Jul 2021 | 04:17

Playmaker's tour could be over says Gatland

Playmaker's tour could be over says Gatland
Sun 11 Jul 2021 | 04:17
Playmaker's tour could be over says Gatland
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SPOTLIGHT: British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland gave an update on Finn Russell’s injury after his team’s win against the Sharks on Saturday.

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The Scotland flyhalf is in a serious race against time to be fit for the three-Test series with Gatland admitting that the playmaker could head home early if there is no improvement in his problematic Achilles over the next two weeks.

Russell was originally named on the bench for Saturday’s second match against the Sharks, which the Lions won 71-31. However, Bundee Aki came in as a late replacement.

“Finn Russell had an injection,” said Gatland. “It is not a strained Achilles, but a slight little tear so it is going to keep him out for the next couple of weeks.

“We are going to see if we can rehab him. He is going to be in a boot for the next five days.

“When he comes out of that, he will have some more treatment and if he makes progress then we will assess him going forward.

“If he is not, there is a possibility he may go home. It is just going to be a wait-and-see situation with him.”

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England flyhalf Marcus Smith was on Saturday called up to join the British and Irish Lions squad as injury cover for Russell.

Smith, 22, who made his England Test debut against the United States last weekend, was due to fly to Cape Town after earning his second cap against Canada in London on Saturday.

The call-up caps a meteoric rise for Philippines-born Smith, who was outstanding for Harlequins in their English Premiership Final win against Exeter Chiefs a week before he made his international debut.

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Playmaker's tour could be over says Gatland | Rugby365