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Neil Jenkins: Late arrivals of British and Irish Lions will catch up |  Rugby Union News


Only 25 members of the 37-man British and Irish Lions squad are currently in Jersey for their training camp; Every match of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa will be exclusively live on Sky Sports

Last update: 06/18/21 12:12 PM

Kicking coach Neil Jenkins kicks off sixth Lions tour as coach and player

Incoming staff from the British and Irish Lions will catch up on their quest to face South Africa, according to kicking coach Neil Jenkins.

Only 25 members of the 37-man squad selected by Warren Gatland are present in Jersey for a pre-tour training camp, with the rest due to join at the end of the English and French national seasons.

This means absent players, such as Saracens stars Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, could be up to two weeks behind their rivals as they pursue the Test Series selection against world champion Springboks.

“The Jersey guys probably have a slight advantage. With a good week of preparation without a game on Saturday, they have to do things they don’t normally do in this down week, ”Jenkins said.

Neil Jenkins: Late arrivals of British and Irish Lions will catch up |  Rugby Union News

Members of the British and Irish Lions during a recovery session at sea

“It’s tough, it’s demanding of them in the way we train and how tough the sessions are.

“But it’s an opportunity to put their strengths forward, for the coaches to see them for the first time before the other guys come here next week and the week after.”

With Farrell entering the second leg of the championship final play-offs on Sunday and Finn Russell still in the Top 14 with Racing 92, Welshman Dan Biggar is the only opening half in Jersey.

This puts Biggar in pole position against his rivals with Lions attacking coach Gregor Townsend – who wore the jersey for the 1997 tour of South Africa – providing the occasional 10-year-old cover in Jersey.

“Gregor is doing a little bit! Owen will be there early next week and depending on how Racing develops Finn could be too,” Jenkins said.

Neil Jenkins: Late arrivals of British and Irish Lions will catch up |  Rugby Union News

Dan Biggar enjoys Jersey training camp

“We could have all three next week anyway. Dan is doing great and having more time in the hot seat. When the others come it will be a big plus for us in the future.”

Jenkins is entering his sixth Lions tour as a coach and player and believes a key ingredient to the successful tours of 1997, 2013 and 2017 was Gatland’s willingness to put every player in the running.

“What I love about what Warren is doing and maybe our opportunity in 1997 is that we all had a chance from the start. As a player that’s all you can ask for,” did he declare.

“You know you have to present yourself, you know you have to work hard, you know you have to get the respect of your peers.

Neil Jenkins: Late arrivals of British and Irish Lions will catch up |  Rugby Union News

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“Most of the boys play against each other week after week, but it’s that opportunity that comes at the start of the tour, in those first three games, it’s a big part of it.

“Sometimes there might have been a little Saturday side and a midweek side, but that certainly won’t be the case here. I know Warren aims to give everyone an opportunity.”

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