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Lions coach Neil Jenkins admits Jersey squad are better placed to win test caps

Lions Neil Jenkins

“It’s an opportunity to put their best foot forward, for the coaches to see them for the first time before the other guys get here.”

British and Irish Lions kicking coach Neil Jenkins has admitted that he believes the 25 players currently training in Jersey are at an advantage compared to players who are still with their clubs.

25 members of Warren Gatland’s 37-man Lions squad (and Ronan Kelleher) arrived in Jersey on Sunday to train for the game against Japan and the tour of South Africa.

12 Lions squad members were unable to meet up with the rest of the squad as their clubs’ seasons have not ended yet, something Jenkins told Sky Sports may disadvantage them when it comes to competing for places in the test team.

Neil Jenkins: Lions squad in Jersey have an advantage.

“The guys in Jersey probably do have a slight advantage. Getting a good week’s prep into them without a game on Saturday, they have got to do stuff they don’t normally do in this down-week,” Jenkins said.

“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 best foot forward, for the coaches to see them for the first time before the other guys get here next week and the week after.”

Several players set to join Lions squad before the test against Japan.

Up to 11 of those 12 players still playing club rugby could join up with the rest of the Lions squad in Jersey after this weekend, if results go a certain way.

Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell is the only player of those 12 not to be playing his club rugby in England, and should the Parisian side lose their Top 14 semi-final against La Rochelle on Friday night, the Scotsman will be free to join the Lions.

All five Saracens players will be free to join up with the Lions squad after Sunday’s Greene King IPA Championship final second-leg encounter with Ealing Trailfinders, which should see the north London club seal promotion to the Premiership.

The remaining six players are currently involved in the Premiership play-offs with one of Exeter Chiefs, Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks.

Should both Exeter and Bristol lose their play-offs, just one player – Tom Curry – won’t join up with the rest of the Lions squad in Jersey.

Should Exeter and Bristol win, five players – Stuart Hogg, Jonny Hill, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Kyle Sinckler – will join the Lions squad after their game against Japan in Edinburgh.

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