Friday 21 July 2017

Sean O'Brien gives Warren Gatland injury boost but is held in reserve

 

Lions defence coach Andy Farrell tries his hand at hurling during yesterday’s training session at the QBE Stadium in Auckland. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Lions defence coach Andy Farrell tries his hand at hurling during yesterday’s training session at the QBE Stadium in Auckland. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Sean O'Brien trained fully for the first time since arriving in New Zealand yesterday and is set to make his Lions bow on Saturday.

The Tullow Tank has been held back for tomorrow's first meeting with a Super Rugby franchise, against Tana Umaga's Auckland Blues at Eden Park, having carried a calf injury into the tour. He last played in Leinster's European Champions Cup win over Wasps on April 1.

Warren Gatland has handed Lions debuts to CJ Stander, Jack McGrath, Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne, while Peter O'Mahony will wear the red jersey for the first time when he comes off the bench. Johnny Sexton and Rory Best are also among the replacements.

Scarlets hooker Ken Owens captains the side as they look to right the wrongs of last Saturday's opening win over the Provincial Barbarians.

Conor Murray and O'Brien are among the players held back for this Saturday's clash with unbeaten Crusaders, along with Jon Davies and George North.

"There's no one ruled out of selection," the head coach said. "Sean O'Brien had a full training session which was the first time he'd done that and we wanted him to get a few training days under his belt before he had some rugby. Him and Jared had been a little concerning, but they're fit to go now."

Irish Independent

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