Out of all the positions for the Lions starting XV, hooker is arguably the most contentious. With Rory Best, you have experience, reliability, and tremendous leadership. In Jamie George, you have one of the most exciting players in this position in the world who continues to impress with his reliable set piece work and powerful ability with ball in hand. Then you have Ken Owens, who was the highlight for Wales in a disappointing Six Nations campaign, a man who consistently but in performance after performance.
On the latest episode of Pundit Arena’s rugby podcast, The Oval Office, the front row options were discussed and the hooker position was undoubtedly the most difficult to predict. With Jamie George ultimately getting the nod.
However, the decision on who should start against the All Blacks may have just become that little bit easier with the news that Ken Owens suffered an ankle injury while training with Scarlets in preparation for Friday night’s PRO12 semi-final with Leinster at the RDS.
Lions assistant coach, Neil Jenkins, admitted today at the Lions’ base in Wales that Owens suffered an ankle injury during the week and has been ruled out of this weekend’s action.
“Hopefully, Ken is going to be fine, although he is missing a big game for the Scarlets this weekend. With a bit of luck, everything is going to be okay for the Lions.”
Best, also spoke to the media today and hopes that Owens can recover in time.
“We heard that today. From his point of view, to miss a semi-final is going to be gutting.
“I hope he recovers and he is fit to play in the PRO12 final next week, or to train with us in Dublin [Carton House].”
The Lions will need their best players and competitiveness in the squad will undoubtedly drive standards so hopefully, Owens can regain his fitness in time.
On the other hand, this could open up the door for someone like Dylan Hartley to enter the fray.