Sam Warburton awaits return to play decision

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton led the 2013 Lions to Australia
European Champions Cup semi-final play-off: Stade Francais v Cardiff Blues
Date: Friday, 19 May Venue: Stade Jean Bouin, Paris Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC Radio Wales and the BBC Sport website

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree says Warren Gatland, Cardiff Blues and tour captain Sam Warburton must decide whether the player should play on Friday.

Warburton has not played since injuring a knee against Ulster on 7 April.

Blues go to Stade Francais on Friday in their European Champions Cup semi-final qualifier.

"That is a bigger picture decision for Sam and the Blues and Warren," said Rowntree.

The Lions' first training camp is being held at Wales' training base.

Rowntree added: "He looked pretty fit to me this (Monday) morning."

Lions tour opener

He does not foresee any doubt over Warburton's fitness to play in the Lions' tour opener against New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on 3 June.

"I don't think there will be any trouble with him playing, certainly, the first game on tour, but as I keep saying, we are managing him coming back from injury," said Rowntree.

If Blues beat Stade Francais, they will go on to meet the winner of Northampton v Connacht for the chance to play in Europe's top tier in 2017-18.

Almost two-thirds of the 41-man Lions squad are currently with their clubs, regions and provinces ahead of Aviva Premiership, Guinness PRO12 and Champions Cup play-offs next weekend.

But Rowntree was delighted with the work done on day one in camp at Wales' training base in the Vale of Glamorgan.

"We've got 14 guys here," he said.

"Other guys are away in other competitions, which is great, because we want them on the plane going to New Zealand battle-hardened, playing in finals, preferably.

"We knew we would be missing a few guys in camp one. We knew what was coming, and we have catered for that."

Top Stories