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Farrell plays down Lions' injury worry

The British and Irish Lions eased concerns over the fitness of Tom Croft and Jonathan Davies after they missed the final training session before tomorrow's first Test against Australia.

Assistant coach Andy Farrell insisted England flanker Croft and Wales centre Davies were rested as a precautionary measure and that both would start the series opener.

"We decided to have a double day yesterday – two really intense, physical sessions," Farrell said.

"Tom has a little bit of inflammation on his toe that's nothing to worry about whatsoever.

"The right thing to do is to give him a rest so that he's fine for tomorrow.

"Jonathan Davies didn't train either because of the intensity of the two sessions. It's just stiffness."

The Lions have been installed favourites to complete their first triumphant tour for 16 years and avenge their 2-1 series defeat by Australia in 2001.

Their starting XV contains 770 caps – the Wallabies' line-up contains 519 – and Farrell takes comfort from the presence of seasoned campaigners such as Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll, Adam Jones and Mike Phillips.

"Experience in big games counts for a lot because they've been there and done it. Australia have some world class players and we do too," he said.

O'Driscoll, participating in his fourth Lions tour, said: "I'm proud. You work hard towards this, which is the ultimate for a player from Britain and Ireland. You're following so many great players who have worn the Lions jersey before you."


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