The Lions tour is approaching rapidly with now just less than three months until the Tourists line out for the first time.
The first test match takes place a few weeks later in Auckland’s Eden Park on June 24th with the imperious All Blacks lying in wait for Warren Gatland’s side, heavy favourites with both bookmakers and pundits alike.
However, the herculean task for the travelling squad may just have gotten slightly easier with no less than five of Steve Hansen’s backline options picking up injuries in the latest round of Super Rugby.
Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Seta Tamanivalu and Lima Sopoaga are now all set to spend some time on the sideline after collecting leg injuries in recent days.
Sopoaga and Naholo appear to be in the gravest danger of missing out on the visit of the Lions after their Highlanders coach Tony Browne revealed:
“It doesn’t look good.“It looks like Lima will be out for a while; Waisake probably the same.”
Milner-Skudder, meanwhile, only just back from a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for the majority of last year, also looks in bad shape after being seen sporting a moon boot with scans for ligament damage in his ankle scheduled for Monday.
For Dagg and Tamanivalu, shorter absences are expected but with Hansen’s squad announcement on the horizon, any time out of action is a massive blow for the Crusaders pair.
As for the Lions, Chris Robshaw looks set to miss out on the tour while Stuart Hogg went off yesterday with concussion as Scotland were trounced by England. Conor Murray, tipped to start at scrum-half for Gatland, couldn’t finish Ireland’s defeat to Wales after sustaining an arm injury.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena