Scottish star Finn Russell will miss the opening test of the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa, but it is hoped he can feature later this summer.
Russell, 28, is excluded from Saturday’s Cape Town showdown – which will be live on talkSPORT – due to an Achilles issue.
The Racing 92 ace suffered a small tear to his Achilles in the Lions’ 54-7 win over the Sharks on July 7 and has since recovered.
There were concerns that his tour might end before testing began, but that may not be the case.
Lions assistant coach Gregor Townsend said the teams “remain hopeful” that Russell will be fit to play again soon.
The teams have been confirmed for Saturday’s opening test and Marcus Smith, 22, will start at the opening.
Of Russell’s injury, Lions coach Warren Gatland first said: “He’s not a tense Achilles, there is a slight little tear so that will prevent him from entering during the two. next weeks.
“We will try to see if we can rehabilitate him. He’s going to be in a boot for the next five days and when he gets out of it, he’ll still have treatment.
“He will continue to receive treatment for the next five days and if he makes good progress, we will evaluate him in the future. If he isn’t, he may be going home.
“It’s a waiting situation.”
Speaking a week later, Lions assistant coach Gregor Townsend said, “It’s wait and see.
“We are now five or six days before his recovery. He had an injection in that area.
“He’s got out of his boot, so he’s going to start the rehabilitation process smoothly, and then hopefully he gets involved in full training again.
“He’s unlikely to be involved in the first Test, but we still hope he will be available for the last two.”
South Africa v The Lions: the compositions confirmed
South Africa:Le Roux, Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi, Pollard, De Klerk, Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Smith.
Substitutes:Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, De Jager, Elstadt, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse.
The Lions:Hogg, A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe, Biggar, Price, W Jones, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan.
Substitutes: Owens, Sutherland, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.
South Africa v The Lions: How to Listen
This first Test will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday July 24.
Full coverage of Cape Town Stadium will be live on talkSPORT, with our pre-match preparation starting at 4pm.
Craig Doyle will be your host and comments will come from Andrew McKenna and James Haskell.
We’ll also have expert analysis from former Lions Ben Kay and Tommy Bowe.
To connect, click on the radio player below or HERE for the live stream.
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